Bereaved son thanks supporters after fire

A Corkman whose mother, father and uncle died in a fire in Essex, England, has thanked friends for their support in the wake of the tragedy.

Hugh Whelan posted on Facebook that he was grateful for the assistance of friends and family in the wake of the death of his parents Ann and Joe and his uncle Jim.

“Thank you one and all for your kind words and support. I will, in time thank everyone individually.

“As of yet there are no arrangements, but I will update as soon as we bring them home. Again thank you for the kind words, they have been, and are, a great source of comfort to us,” he wrote.

Pensioners Joe and Ann Whelan had travelled to the UK over the weekend to visit Mr Whelan’s 76-year-old brother Jim who was in poor health. The trio died when a fire broke out at Mr Whelan’s house at Laburnum Avenue in Hornchurch near Romford in Essex at around 4am on Monday.

Firemen battled to save the three pensioners. However, Mrs Whelan died at the scene and the brothers lost their fight for life at the Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

The Whelan brothers were from Dublin.

Prayers were said for the trio at masses in east Cork yesterday. Cobh parish priest Fr Liam Kelleher, said the prayers of the parish were with the Whelan family.

Joe Whelan lived for much of his adult life at the Tay Road in Cobh, Co Cork. He was a former member of the Irish Naval Service.

Jeffrey Prendergast, a neighbour who witnessed the Hornchurch fire, said that Jim Whelan was “a very pleasant sort of guy” who kept himself to himself.

“I think his wife died some time ago. It is tragic,” Mr Prendergast said.

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