Wigan house fire victim was army hero
The victim of a house fire tragedy in Wigan has been named as a former Armed Forces medic who served in Iraq and Kenya as a teenager.
Catherine ‘Cat’ Campbell died following a fire which broke out at an address in St James Grove, Poolstock, on Sunday afternoon.
She was taken to hospital but, despite the best efforts of medics, she could not be saved.
Tributes flooded social media in the hours after the tragic death of Cat, a former Abraham Guest pupil who went on to join the army.
As an 18-year-old Private, she flew out to Africa in 2002, serving as a Combat Medical Technician as part of the British Army’s attempt to bring primary health care to the continent.
Toiling in temperatures of more than 40c, Cat described seeing first hand the Aids orphans and the way that poverty had blighted Kenya.
In an interview with the Wigan Post at the time, she said: “The conditions are difficult to work in but with everybody in the same boat, we all muck in.”
Cat would go on to celebrate her 19th birthday in Basra, where she served in the One Close Support Medical Regiment attached to the Seventh Armoured Brigade in Iraq’s second city.
At the time, Cat’s proud mum Jeanette said: “Catherine has been abroad on holiday before and on training exercises in Kenya but this is her first big mission. She says she is still enjoying it.
“There was one worrying moment when a couple invited her into a mosque on their own and she said she was a bit frightened but nothing came of it.
“I asked her when she was coming home and she mentioned a month, but I would be surprised if it were so soon. I just wished her a happy birthday for today but didn’t have time to ask her how she would celebrate it.”
A statement from Greater Manchester Police said: “Officers were called around 5pm on Sunday 20 June 2021 to St James Grove, Wigan to a report of a fire at a property.
“Emergency services attended and two women were taken to hospital. Despite the best efforts of medical staff, a woman in her 30s sadly died a short time later. The other woman remains in a stable condition.
“A joint investigation with colleagues from GMFRS is on-going and the death is not being treated as suspicious at this time.
“Anyone with information can report it online at www.gmp.police.uk. Alternatively, details can be passed on anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Tributes were paid on social media in the hours after the tragedy. One person commented: “R.I.P cat still in total shock that ur gone I will miss u n u will always remember the crazy times we had love u girl rest easy.”
Another said: “So tragic, thoughts are with her immediate family and partner. Rest in peace.”
A third posted: “So awful my thoughts are with her family and partner. Sleep peacefully Kat, x”.
A fund-raiser to support the victim’s family has been organised, details of which were shared to the Wigan Today Facebook page.
A raffle and auction night will be held at the Prince of Wales in Woodhouse Lane on Thursday, July 8 from 7pm.
Entry to the event will cost £10, with all proceeds going to the Cat’s family.
Flowers have also been laid at the scene in the days following the tragedy.
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