A 93-year-old man who was dragged from his burning bungalow has been overwhelmed by the community’s generosity after £650 was raised to replace his mobility scooter.
Although Matthew Hodgson is enjoying his new life in Triple Trees Nursing Home on Ferndale Road, Burgess Hill, more money is needed as he lost almost all of his possessions.
Mr Hodgson, who was made homeless by the blaze in Meeds Road last month, said:“It’s very generous, I’m so grateful.
“I’m overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity, I just don’t believe it, it’s fantastic.
“Having a new mobility scooter will help me a lot, when I’ve just got two sticks, I can’t go out, I can’t go anywhere, and wherever I do go I can’t get back.”
Councillor Anne Jones, who helped Mr Hodgson get back on his feet after the fire, said: “He’s making the most of a bad situation, looking on the bright side.
“I’m amazed at how kind everyone has been in helping him, and I’m just delighted he’s not alone.”
The loss of the bungalow is a huge blow for Mr Hodgson particularly as he does not have home insurance.
He described his ordeal: “I was coming out of the bathroom and I heard the smoke alarm first, so I reached up and shoved it with a broom to stop it and there was suddenly an explosion in the conservatory and a lot of flames, it was very worrying.
“The next thing I knew my neighbour was dragging me out onto the grass outside, I was just wearing my pyjamas and socks.”
Lynda Bish, Mr Hodgson’s neighbour, was on her way home from the shops when she saw smoke coming from her road.
She told the Mid Sussex Times: “I was thinking ‘who’s got a bonfire?’ But as I got closer I realised ‘crikey that’s coming from Matthew’s house’.
“I was really worried about him, so I hammered on the door and he opened it wearing his pyjama bottoms.
“He started going back in to get something so I dragged him out, who knows what could have happened.
“He was in shock so we sat outside until we were carted off to hospital.”
A firefighter was also taken to hospital after a piece of ceiling collapsed on his head, whilst Mrs Bish and Mr Hodgson were treated for smoke inhalation.
Mr Hodgson, who had lived in his bungalow for 33 years, added: “I’m sad to lose my house, I started with nothing and the wife and I built ourselves a nice home, we put a lot of money into it.
“I lost all the important things, all of my clothes and shoes, everything.”
Nicky Bookers, receptionist at The Brow, said: “We need everything we can get, he needs absolutely everything replaced.”
Donations can be made at The Brow Medical Centre’s reception in The Brow, Burgess Hill.