***TO MEMBERS OF SHAW GAS EXPLOSION SUPPORT GROUP***
As you may have heard on local and national news, a terrible tragedy occurred in our town on Tuesday 26th June 2012.
I was working on a wedding order in the kitchen when at approximately 11.15am heard the most almighty BANG, which was so loud it frightened me. At first, I thought that something had crashed upstairs, so I dashed into all the rooms looking for something amiss. Nothing was. Minutes later I heard many sirens just streets away.
I manage a Facebook page called "I Love SHAW" and immediately checked the internet for any news. A local lady had posted that her house had shook from an explosion. Moments later, other members joined the discussion and confirmed that a gas explosion had occured on nearby Buckley Street, destroying at least 2 houses.
Throughout the day I kept online, updating news as it happened and also networking with other Oldham Facebook groups. It soon transpired that a 2 year old boy, Jamie Heaton had lost his life in the blast, whilst a 27 year old man called Andrew Partington had been air-lifted to Wythenshawe Hospital with 25-30% burns. As I type this, the exact cause of the explosion is still not known, although it is believed to involve a recent repair to Mr Partington's property.
Within no time at all, a local action group had been established on Facebook and those who had been evacuated from their homes were kindly offered sanctuary within the Sports Hall of Crompton House School. Local residents immediately began offering donations of food, water, clothing, toilettries, home furnishings, electrical items... Some residents commenced work on charity events and fundraising; the community spirit was awe-inspiring.
The following morning, I commented on my Facebook page that I would bake some fresh cupcakes and donate these to the families and support workers at Crompton House School. Ten minutes later my phone rang. It was BBC Radio Manchester. They had seen my update on Facebook and asked if I would mind being interviewed on the radio! Of course, I jumped at the chance. Just ten minutes later, I was speaking LIVE to Heather Stott who asked me about the explosion and the kind donation of cupcakes. I told her about my experience, my business and involvement with the Facebook page "I Love SHAW". By 1pm I had completed the cupcakes and a kind customer of Sugar and Ice of Shaw offered to take them over to the school for me (this was only because I don't have daytime transportation).
My father-in-law rang me around this time to say he had been to the school to donate clothing/soft furnishings. Whilst there he was interviewed by BBC NorthWest! The interview was broadcast that evening...trust him to steal my thunder! lol...
On a more serious note, however, we cannot lose sight of the loss affecting the Heaton family and would like to take this opportunity to offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences. We would also like to wish Andrew Partington a full and speedy recovery.