Crediton fire: Owner Ashen Gill rebuilds home

Ashen Gill Ms Gill said the most challenging thing had been conquering her fear of heights

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Ashen Gill and her two sons were left with just three cob walls and half of a partition following a large fire at their home which was tackled by about 100 firefighters.

The blaze severely damaged a row of historic thatched cottages in Crediton in February 2012.

More than a year on and Ms Gill is in the process of rebuilding her home.

Ms Gill and her two sons, Oak, 18, and Daegan, 14, had no house insurance and lost most of their possessions in the fire.

After the blaze, which took hold in a historical part of the town, known locally as the traditional birthplace of St Boniface, a collection was started to help those who lost their homes.

Family home

Ms Gill, who started to rebuild her home in October, said she relied on this money to start with and also used all of her earnings from last year.

She said: "I'm quite practical, but I have done very little DIY and certainly never laid blocks.

"I am completely determined. You can do anything if you put your mind to it."

Some of her friends who are builders taught the family how to lay blocks and have helped throughout the build.

Ashen Gill's house Ms Gill and her two sons lost most of their possesions in the fire

"Our home has held my two boys and I for all our family life.

"I bought it with my inheritance money when my mum and dad died many years ago and it is a large part of our security in the world and it will be my sons' inheritance too. That's pretty important."

Ms Gill said the most challenging thing had been conquering her fear of heights to work on scaffolding on the walls.

She said the arrival of the roof trusses on Wednesday, which will be attached by "professionals" later, were the first part of the cottage her family had not helped to build.

"I think my fear of heights would have made me too unstable to be able to concentrate on the roof. I think we could have done it if we had to though."

Crediton The blaze severely damaged a row of historic thatched cottages

During the recent heavy rain, Ms Gill said she had spent a lot of time clearing water from her living room and was looking forward to having the protection of the roof.

With help from friends, Ms Gill will be slating the roof in April and May.

She said: "I really pushed for slate, apart from the cost, I felt I might not be able to move back into a thatched property after our experience.

"I wouldn't risk putting my boys and our things in that position again."

Ms Gill is now raising money to pay for the interior work.

"We fully intend on doing everything inside ourselves with advice from professional friends.

"We need floors, ceilings, stairs, internal walls, doors and windows. In fact everything, there is nothing inside at present.

"We are open to offers of help of all kinds, practical and financial.

"I'm looking forward to working inside the house, I don't think anything else could possibly be as challenging as repairing walls and getting a roof on.

"We'll be able to see our home's new interior take shape, it'll be very exciting," she said.

The property in March 2013 Ms Gill said her family "fully intend" to do all the interior work themselves

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