Backing for memorial plan for tragic children

Children who died in house fire in Hulland Ward
Children who died in house fire in Hulland Ward

poignant plans for a memorial to the four children killed in a house fire in Hulland Ward have received the backing of a local councillor.

Heartbroken neighbours of the youngsters want a fitting tribute to honour their memory with a special tree and a bench.

The blaze on Highfield Road claimed the lives of Tommy Henson, nine, Alisha Henson-Nulty, six, Rocco Henson-Nulty, four, and Appolonia Henson, two.

Neighbour Joanne Newbury wants a bench either on one of the two grass verges at the end of Highfield Road, or on nearby Hulland Park.

She said fellow neighbour Anna Murphy wanted to plant a memorial tree on the other grass verge at the end of the road.

Now chairman of the Derbyshire Dales District Council Cllr Jennifer Radford has thrown her support behind the ideas.

Cllr Radford is also a Hulland Ward councillor.

She said: “I support the idea of creating a memorial to the four children who lost their lives so tragically.

“And, as an authority, we will do everything we can to get local people through the planning process.”

Paul Wilson, who is head of planning services at the district council, said: “I encourage residents to contact me directly so I can advise on the planning process.”

He can be contacted on 01629 761 100.

Meanwhile, the inquests into the deaths of the four children were opened at Derby Coroner’s Court on Friday. No date has been set for the full inquests.

Also, police have said the family have requested that their privacy is respected when they hold the children’s funerals.

No funeral details have been released as yet.

Firefighters and ambulance crews were called out to the house at 11.30pm on Monday, January 24.

The children’s mum, Rachael Henson, 45, escaped from the rear of the house and was taken to the Royal Derby Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

She was later discharged and is being cared for by family and friends.

Fire chief Gavin Tomlinson, of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, told how the blaze had been one of the worse he had attended.

It started from a spark or ember from an open fire in the lounge of the property.

The detailed investigation into the blaze also found no evidence that there were working smoke alarms in the house.

Mr Tomlinson said: “The spark or ember went out and clearly landed on something flammable.

“A fire can take its time to build up.

“It potentially could have been building for up to a couple of hours.

“Fires can smoulder and smoulder for a while and then the speed and severity comes on so quick.”

An account has been opened at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Ashbourne for anyone who wants to donate cash to help mum Rachael, who runs a hairdressing salon in Ashbourne.