Life-saving elderly Wigan dad hailed a hero after blaze ravages family home

The daughter of an elderly Wigan couple left homeless by a blaze has told of her dad's bravery in rescuing his wife and trying to put out the fire himself.

By Charles Graham
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 12:30 pm

Lisa Belshaw was speaking as a charity fund for her parents May and Brian continued to appeal for help in putting their stricken lives back together after not only the devastating fire but also the loss of their grandson and two beloved pets in the space of three months.

The pair escaped the blazing property on Cameron Place, Marsh Green, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

They have been left with almost nothing and it has since emerged that they were already reeling from another tragedy when grandson Barry died at their home late last year.

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Brian Belshaw

The fire started in the living room where Mrs Belshaw, 78, had been sleeping but had just gone to the bathroom.

She returned to the lounge to find the bed ablaze. She tried to put it out with water from the kitchen but in vain.

The smoke alarm went off and 79-year-old Mr Belshaw came downstairs, led his confused wife outside and then bravely went back in to try to tackle the fire.

But the flames had spread alarmingly fast, tearing through the ground floor and blowing out the back window.

May Belshaw

The couple were left outside with only the night clothes they were wearing and needed treatment for smoke inhalation. The fire also claimed the life of their pet cat.

Lisa said: "My dad did everything he could. He came down and could see Mum was confused so he got her straight out of the house then went back in to try to put the fire out.

"But there was nothing he could do, it had spread that fast. He was very brave."

Granddaughter Leona Belshaw has since launched the appeal saying “her nan was still poorly in hospital”.

The aftermath of the blaze

Posting online, Leona said: “I am fund-raising to help my nan and grandad, who sadly lost everything they own due to a house fire.

“Back in November they lost their grandson who lived with them and now a house fire that’s stolen all their memories of him and their 45 years of being there.

“We just want to try to help get them some basic things back sofa beds, clothes etc. They’ve absolutely nothing and any help will be greatly appreciated.”

Next-door neighbour Jen Bradshaw has joined in the call for help. She said: “Brian and May are both in poor health even prior to the fire and have lost everything.

Grandson Barry Belshaw was found dead at the couple's home in November

“They had lived in their house since it was built. Their dog died in September, their adult grandson Barry passed away in their house on Bonfire Night, and now they’ve had this house fire resulting in their cat dying and them being made homeless.

“May receives care due to being at home on a palliative basis as she has serious heart problems, the man has had cancer a few times in his life and has been having recent inquiries into a possible further diagnosis.

“And I’ve been inside the house. It’s horrible; it’s just a black shell downstairs and what remains of the upstairs has been wrecked by smoke.

“Virtually everything they own needs to be replaced.”

Jen said that Brian was currently staying with family while May remained in hospital. She added that the couple were most upset about the loss of their pet cat.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

The fire-gutted remains of the house's downstairs

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