I’m a bit of a hard faced cow if they truth be known. I don’t let sad stories on the news affect me. In fact I go out of my way to make sure I don’t see the news – I switch it off the TV and skip over the headlines online. I figure I’ve got enough stuff going on in my own life that I don’t want to take on feelings and emotions from other people’s issues. I’ve not been able to do that though this week.
As I’m sure you’ve read there was a gas explosion in the town of Shaw, Oldham on Tuesday. A 2 year old boy was killed, a man is seriously ill in hospital, 4 houses have been totally destroyed, 2 streets devastated and a whole load of people are currently being kept away from their homes until they are made safe. A terrible tragedy but one that normally I would have glossed over. I’d have felt sorrow and pity for everyone involved and moved on. Only I can’t with this one. Whether it is because I know Shaw well – my dad & brother in law are from there, that’s where my hairdressers is, I used to work there, my Grandma lives there, I grew up in Royton a couple of miles down the road. Maybe it’s because the little boy who died was only a year or so younger than Sam. Or because I have met his grandparents before (my brother in law’s family are close to their family and they came to my sister’s wedding).
Whatever it is I am so upset by it that I can’t forget about it. I can’t stop thinking about the little boy innocently watching TV whilst his mummy hung out the washing. I definitely can’t stop think about that poor mum’s utter despair, fear, devastation, terror as she frantically tried to dig through the rubble to get to her baby. It now emerges that this wasn’t a accident and a man has been arrested.
I’ve been reading on the I love Royton and I love Shaw facebook pages about all the help people are giving. Asda opened their café to the emergency services, they provided food, drink clothes, pet food and all sorts to people affected. As did Tesco, Morrisons, Primark and Boots. Halifax advised people about claiming on insurance, Crompton House school opened its doors so people could take refuge their and so many people donated clothes, nappies, bedding, even the little things you don’t think about like phone chargers (and a PAT testing company offered to test them for free!). Oldham has had a lot of bad press in the past - people seem to think that it’s very much a fractured town after the riots in 2000 but that is so not the case, as has been shown. It’s amazing how a community comes together in a time of crisis and I am very proud to be an Oldhamer & Roytonian.
There are a few ways of donating to the people involved. It won’t bring back Jamie, or anyone’s possessions but it does show that people care and are thinking about them. If you are interested in donating have a look at the I love Royton website – one of the best sources of info I’ve found. As usual I’ll be heading to my parents’ in Royton on Friday so I’ll be seeing what I can do to help.