Sussex

Community holds birthday party for Crawley fire-hit family

Ali Azad at his birthday party Image copyright The Filming Company

A family whose home was destroyed by a fire have celebrated their son's sixth birthday with a party organised by their local community.

Faran Azad had lived in the house in Winchester Road in Crawley with his wife and three young children for five years.

A neighbour set up a fundraising page after the fire on 7 July which has so far raised almost £2,500.

Mr Azad said his son Ali, who has complex needs, had an "amazing day".

He said Ali's school had organised a birthday party for him during the morning.

Image copyright Faran Azad
Image caption Spotted: Crawley Facebook group raised over £255 for Ali's birthday party

Dan Armstrong, who runs the Spotted: Crawley Facebook group, organised a party for Ali on Friday, days after the fire had destroyed all his family's presents.

The group supplied a birthday cake and balloons and organised for Crawley Town Football Club to send their mascot.

Mr Armstrong said Mr Azad had been "completely blown away".

"When we heard about the fire we had to do something to put a smile on Ali's face," he said.

"The community in Crawley should take full credit for this."

"They did more than I ever could have done."

Mr Azad said: "Ali didn't really understand it was his birthday - he just had an amazing day."

Image copyright Faran Azad
Image caption Mr Azad said most of the upstairs of the family home had been destroyed
Image copyright Faran Azad
Image caption One of the upstairs windows was blown out during the fire

The family have been living in a hotel since the fire but are hoping to move to more suitable accommodation in the next few days.

Mr Azad said the community fundraising, led by Paul Graves, "has been amazing".

Mr Graves said: "The local support has been so incredibly generous, with one donor giving £400.

"We've had offers of beds, sofas and bikes. It's been a real privilege to help them."

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