Jubilee party to help residents put Clarence Avenue fire tragedy behind them
RESIDENTS of a street in Bridlington are hoping to put their tragic past behind them with a £5,000 jubilee party.
Neighbours were devastated when a blaze tore through a family home in Clarence Avenue, killing three children and leaving their mum Samantha Hudson in a care home unable to speak, walk or eat.
The fire in November 2010 left a shadow over the street – but after winning a competition, families are hoping to move on from the tragedy.
Homeowner Sue Smith, 51, said: "We've got quite a lot of stuff coming.
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"We've got a barbecue, a large bouncy castle, a buffet and a magician on stilts.
"People are really looking forward to it."
Police and fire officers who battled the blaze have been invited to join in with the day.
The grandparents of the children who died have also been asked if they would like to come.
Mrs Smith said: "We're catering for 150 people.
"We just want to bring a bit of life and joy and lift back on to the street.
"It will be a good chance for people to let their hair down after what happened."
There will be a moment's silence to remember William, 9, AJ, 5, and three-year-old Maddie-Jane, who lost their lives in the fire.
Mrs Smith said: "It's in the memory of the kids but it's also a time to move forward.
"My friend lives in the house where it happened and I don't think of it as 'that house' anymore.
"But I still can't go upstairs. That's something I've got to deal with."
Clarence Avenue is home to about 30 children. Mrs Smith said they were all getting very excited.
She won the money after entering a competition for tragedy-hit streets run by Full House magazine.
She said: "I just wrote about the fire and how the neighbours seem to have been forgotten."
Emma Arpigny lives with her partner and three children in the house where the fire struck.
She said: "We're really looking forward to the street party.
"My eldest one's really excited – he's 5.
"Sue keeps us up to date and she's told us what's been going on."
Moving into the house was a hard decision for the family to make.
Ms Arpigny said: "Everybody saw what happened and this is trying to bring the street back together.
"After what happened, everyone distanced themselves. Now we're trying to bring a bit of life back into the street."
For Ms Arpigny, the hardest moment since moving in last July was the anniversary of the fire.
She said: "On the one-year anniversary, I couldn't get to sleep.
"My kids wouldn't settle – they seemed to know. That's when it actually hit."
But she said she was glad the family had moved in.
She said: "We were really desperate to move.
"We've made it our own and we fit in really well in the street."
She said the party was a chance to remember the past, but to finally put it behind them.
The free party will start mid-morning on Tuesday, and continue throughout the day.
Henry Turgoose organised the Britain's Greatest Street Party Competition.
He said: "One of the great things about being British is our ability to pull together when times get tough – and that is exactly what Clarence Avenue residents have done.
They prove that, contrary to popular belief, community spirit is alive and well."