Lilian Howitt has been living in her Caerphilly County home in Wales for 50 years, but a dangerous fire threatened to change everything.
It all started when a lamp in an upstairs room fell over, sparking a flame that quickly made her home unlivable. She was rescued by a neighbor and taken to a hospital, but surviving the fire was only part of the battle.
“I don’t remember the fire because when I heard, they were rushing me off to the hospital,” Lilian said. “I was in a room on my own for a long time, and then they put me in another room but nobody spoke to me. I thought I was never coming home.”
Although Lilian had managed to make it out with no serious injuries, she had no choice but to remain in the hospital until she had somewhere else to live. They didn’t know when her own home would be an option, and in the meantime, temporary housing wasn’t available either. Worst of all, not being able to have visitors because of COVID-19 restrictions made her feel especially lonely.
Determined to find a way to get this sweet woman home before her 103rd birthday, which was just eight days away at the time, Stephanie Davies, Lilian’s granddaughter, reached out for help on Facebook. Before she knew it, friends, family members, and complete strangers were offering Lilian free carpets, blinds, labor, and more!
“I’ve been papering, painting, taking all the old carpets up, filling the skip up, doing the floor boards,” said one of her neighbors, Helen Harden. “This is how it should be really, the lady is home now so the house will be finished today, hopefully.”
It took many hours of hard work, but thanks to her kind community, Lilian was finally able to come home after nine long days — just in time for her birthday! She said she is “very thankful,” especially since it was made possible by a group of people who love her very much, including total strangers.
“My heart melted, as a family we can’t ask for better friends, even people we don’t know,” Stephanie said. “It’s been amazing.”
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