Couple fear they're homeless due to climate change after fire guts house

Alex Cockburn and Thomas Longhurst, who are among the families affected in the blaze and in search of accommodation

Alex Cockburn and Thomas Longhurst, who are among the families affected in the blaze and in search of accommodation - Credit: Sarah Hussain

A woman whose home was among dozens which were damaged or destroyed by fires which swept across Norfolk believes climate change could be to blame.

Alex Cockburn and Thomas Longhurst's property on Edward Close in Ashill was among those gutted after a field fire spread to the edge of the village on July 19. 

Fourteen fire crews were called out to tackle the blaze.

A shocking video has revealed the moment when gardens and homes in Ashill became engulfed by flames

A shocking video has revealed the moment when gardens and homes in Ashill became engulfed by flames - Credit: Pink Spitfire

Miss Cockburn said it's hard not to look to climate change for the reason she lost her home: "I've lived in the village for 11 years - since the houses were built.

"We'd just had the hottest day of the year, the hottest day ever and that field just caught alight from nowhere.

"The field was empty. There was no farm work going on, it's not on a public footpath so it couldn't have been a fag end or anything like that.

"It could be climate change."

Ashill fire

Some of the homes destroyed in the fire at Ashill - Credit: Chris Bishop

Miss Cockburn, 31, who works at the PACT Animal Sanctuary at Hingham, added: "We are now homeless and it could be up to two years before we get somewhere.

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"Our house has been deemed uninhabitable."

The aftermath of a field fire in Ashill which has also destroyed a number of homes.

The aftermath of a field fire in Ashill which has also destroyed a number of homes. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Miss Cockburn said the couple, who have been staying temporarily with a workmate, needed a property within a 10 to 15-mile radius of Ashill for themselves, their four dogs and four cats.

On Sunday, Ashill's St Nicholas' Church was packed by more than 100 people - three times the normal attendance - for a service dedicated to fire victims, attended by the Right Rev Graham Usher, the Bishop of Norwich.

Ashill fire

A service at the church in Ashill was packed on the Sunday after fire destroyed a dozen homes in the village - Credit: Chris Bishop

Alan Ketteringham, chair of Ashill Parish Council, told worshippers: "The last five days have been traumatic for many in this village but we have hopefully now come through the worst of this horrible drama.

"A heartfelt thankyou to all those people who stepped up when the fire struck.

"I'm here today to give thanks that there was no loss of life, only one person was taken to hospital as a result of the fire and he is now at home awaiting tests."

Bishop of Norwich

Bishop of Norwich, the Right Rev Graham Usher, attended the service at Ashill Church after fire destroyed a dozen homes in the village - Credit: Chris Bishop

Bishop Graham said: "There are people praying for you across the diocese, across the county, across the world."

If you can help Miss Cockburn and Mr Longhurst, e-mail axi17.ac@googlemail.com.

A Justgiving page has raised more than £16,000, while villagers have rallied round to help those affected