kirkcaldy residents have been praised for their generosity in helping save Christmas for a family whose home was badly damaged by a fire.
The Figueiredo family from Portugal were looking forward to Christmas in Kirkcaldy when a fire swept through the flat above theirs in Dunearn Drive last Friday night, destroying all their possessions, including gifts for children Leonardo (8) and Lara (6).
But, thanks to an appeal by Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance to Sainsburys supermarket as well as donations handed in following an appeal on Kingdom FM, and lots of other fundraising efforts locally, the family managed to salvage their Christmas.
This week the family – dad Jorge (39), mum Manuela (35), son Leonardo (8), daughter Lara (6), and springer spaniel Milo, gave their heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped them in their time of need.
“We really cannot find the words to say how grateful we are to everyone for their kindness,” said Jorge, who works as a part-time panel beater with a garage in Lochgelly.
“It was a terrible time with the fire and losing everything except the clothes we were wearing, but then we got all these toys and presents for the children which made us very happy. ‘’
‘’It has been a rollercoaster of emotions.”
The family has been temporarily housed in bed and breakfast accommodation until a new home can be found.
Manuela, who is in the third year of a hairdressing course at Adam Smith College, added: “I would like to thank every single person who has helped us.
“One minute I am crying about all the things we lost in the fire then the next I am smiling thinking that people were so kind to think about my children at Christmas time.
‘‘It has just been so amazing seeing all the beautiful gifts, and we have had about six big black bags full, including a PS3 and games, soft toys, board games, dolls, chocolate and so much more.
“I was very touched by two presents that had been wrapped with “for Mum” and “for Dad” on them too, - and there was even food for the dog.”
Councillor Torrance visited Sainsburys at the Fife Central Retail Park on Christmas Eve, the day after the blaze when an appeal went out to all staff and customers.
And within just a few hours £330 had been collected, while the supermarket also donated food hampers and toys for the children.
The family was even treated to a full Christmas dinner courtesy of the Lomond Hills Hotel in Freuchie, while a cab from Kirkcaldy Central Taxis took them there and back.
Other donations came from Aldi, Rejects the Co-operative, the Cottage Centre, and Asda in the town as well as individual donations.
Councillor Torrance said: “This is what Christmas really is all about.
‘‘The people of Kirkcaldy were fantastic and really rallied round to help a family in their time of need. Sainsburys was also fantastic and I can’t thank them all enough.”
Councillor Judy Hamilton also contacted the Salvation Army which contributed to the collection, and she too thanked everyone who had helped, including local man Colin Lafferty who helped organise a collection for the family.
Anyone with any information about the incident should contact Fife Police on 0845 600 5702.