Oldham explosion: Town rallies to help blast evacuees
From the smallest child to the biggest national business, it seems everyone in Shaw wants to help those forced from their homes by the explosion in the town.
More than 80 families had to leave their homes after a suspected gas blast destroyed two houses on Buckley Street and damaged several others, killing two-year-old Jamie Heaton.
The community has rallied round to provide toiletries, clothes, toys, TVs and toasters for families who are using Crompton House School's refuge centre as their temporary base.
Ten-year-old Megan Shaughnessy picked out her favourite dolls, books and teddies to bring for the children who have lost theirs.
She said: "I thought the children there haven't got anything to play with or read, I hope I can help them."
Her mother, Michelle, added: "It was Megan's idea, she wanted to give some of her things. She said they have lost everything and she's got lots. We only live down the road and we're devastated."
Residents have all found alternative temporary accommodation, but the refuge centre in the school's sports hall is still open for them to pick up food, supplies and the latest information from police.
In the meantime, the school is managing to keep running as usual for pupils.
Asda workers could be seen coming in and out of the refuge centre having donated around £2,000 worth of household items and £1,000 of gift cards.
Shaw branch general manager Andy Taylor said: "When I heard about the blast we took some water for the people at the scene.
"I said to the police they could send people here, we cordoned off part of the car park for police vans and put on lunch for the residents in our canteen. We sent some toasters up to the refuge centre this morning for their breakfast."Fees waived
Director of local taxi firm Borough Taxis, Imran Aslam, offered residents free trips to and from the scene and the refuge centre.
"Lots of people were shocked and had glass on them," he said. "They haven't got access to their cars so we were just glad we were able to take part."
Pharmacies were asked to help people who might need prescriptions left behind in their homes.
Chris Donohue, manager at the Co-operative Pharmacy in the town centre, said: "We waived the fees on any prescriptions for people evacuated. We've been told people could need up to five days worth of prescriptions, and we've also donated hundreds of items of toiletries."
One family grateful for the community's practical help and support are Nicola Cooney and three-year-old daughter Holly, who picked up clothes, a toothbrush, child's vests, wipes and food from the refuge centre.
Ms Cooney said: "Our door was blown in, there was soot everywhere and things hanging off the walls.
"First I heard a rumbling, I grabbed my daughter and pulled her away from the door, then the door blew in. We went upstairs to get dressed, then a policeman came to tell us to get out of the house.
"We keep coming back to Crompton House for updates but we're not being told that much. I'm feeling a bit anxious as my front door blew off and all my stuff is in there so I just want to get it secure."'Community spirit'
Spiritual as well as practical support is also on offer as churches opened to provide drinks and comfort.
Reverend Lynne Connolly, of St James' Church, Crompton, visited the family of the baby killed in the blast, Jamie Heaton.
She said: "I was able to comfort and offer support to the family."
The reverend also visited evacuees at Crompton House School, adding: "They have got a lot of support. It's a horrendous situation for the people to go through."
The police praised the way the community has pulled together.
A spokesman said: "The resilience of the people of this town is overwhelming, the kind thoughts, offers of help and donation will provide some comfort to the people who have been affected by this tragedy."
Thanking people for their patience they added: "This community has shown true community spirit in a devastating situation. This is a difficult time for everyone and your courage and generosity has been and continues to be an inspiration to us all."