By Olivia Kelleher
A mother of five who lost her husband after a year long battle with cancer only to see her home badly damaged in a fire two weeks before Christmas was celebrating yesterday as the family moved back in to their newly refurbished family home following a fundraising drive.
On December 12th, 2017 Mary Gore from Mallow, Co Cork was left without any of her personal possessions after a fire spread through her home in College Wood. Her husband Chris had passed away of cancer at Marymount Hospice in Cork just weeks earlier.
Mary told the Neil Prendeville show, on Cork's Red FM, that she was shocked when she received a phone call that her house was on fire whilst at the local school for a Christmas performance involving her children.
"We were getting ready for school. We ran out the door. The nativity play for my girls was on that morning so I didn't go back like I usually would. At eleven o clock I got a text message from my brother in law saying 'Go home your house is on fire.'
"I sped out the road. Saw the fire brigade there. My father in law was standing there because they had contacted him.
"Chris (her husband) passed away in Marymount in November. Anyone who has lost a partner well you find it hard to go through all their stuff. I wasn't ready to do that. But then I had no option to get rid of all his clothes and all his belongings because they were damaged. We lost everything.
"They said the fire started with the cooker. It looks like one of the knobs was (left) turned on."
Mary and her children stayed with her brother for the first few nights. Then they were kindly given a house only ten doors up from their own which they lived in temporarily.
She said her children, who are under the age of eight, were heartbroken at the situation.
"Adam had just turned eight and David was seven and the girls ( Sarah, Ellen and Teresa ) were still five. They were devastated. All their toys gone."
A Go Fund Me page was set up by a friend of the family Carol Guerin. It raised tens of thousands of euro for the family. Poignantly the family moved back in home just before Father's Day.
"Kelly's carpets in Blackpool Cork came down very quickly and put carpets in the (temporary) house so that we could move in.
"David Casey of Casey's Furniture was unbelievable. The Furniture Centre in Blackpool gave us a chest of drawer. Aldi now, cos Chris used to work for Aldi, they looked us really well. Tesco gave us vouchers. Lidl, Supervalu ...everyone was so kind.
"I would like to thank Glasheen Carpets who came in and did all the flooring in this house (the one she has moved back in to). They even came down on Sunday to put down flooring on their time off."
Mrs Gore said the generosity of the public made life bearable because they were uninsured at the time of the fire. Chris had been on illness benefit for a year and with five kids to put through school house insurance cover was a bill too far.
"The Go Fund me page was just over seventy thousand euro. It is an incredible amount of money. Not to have to worry about how I am going to pay the house insurance or how I am going to have to pay for the schoolbooks for the kids. I saw people in England and America donating money. It was unbelievable."
Mary said she and the kids are starting to unpack and are busy putting the personal touches to their home again.
"They love being back. This is where all the memories of their dad are. They love having their big back garden to go play in. They are just delighted. After the house was made safe I did grab his (her husband's) army medals.
"His army friends got them re mounted and sent off and framed for me. They are beautiful. At least we have them. We are hoping to go away on holiday to Wexford for a few days in July. We are happy to be back."