Breaking: Toy appeal saves blaze family’s Christmas

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A MUM and her six children have lost everything after a fire destroyed their South Yorkshire home in an arson attack- but Christmas is back on thanks to YOU!

Gifts donated to The Star backed Hallam FM Cash For Kids and Asda Christmas Appeal, supported by P&A, are being handed over to the stricken family.

Mum Sam Woodburn, aged 34, has five sons - Brandon, 14, Callum, 13, Travis, 12, Zak, 10 and Louis seven. She also has a three-year-old daughter Tilly.

The fire broke out yesterday afternoon when the family was out.

A pile of rubbish set alight outside their home spread into the property on St Withold Court, Thurcroft, Rotherham.

Flames spread to a gas pipe into the house and fire quickly ripped through the two-story property, leaving the fanily homeless.

Sam was out shopping with two of the youngsters and the others were with their father.

Police forensics experts examined the four-bedroomed detached home this morning while a police officer stood guard outside.

Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.

The Christmas was launched to raise £300,000 in cash and gifts, to provide presents for 10,000 children in the region who would otherwise wake on Christmas Day with nothing.

Heartbroken Sam said she was overwhelmed with the donation and the generosity of friends, relatives and strangers who have rallied round to help provide her with replacement clothes, furniture and electrical items for when she is re-homed.

There is still time to donate to the Appeal.

There are so many places to buy and drop off gifts, including The Star shop in York Street, the radio station in Herries Road, Asda, Smyths Toy Superstore, Meadowhall and there are easier ways to donate – online at or text XMAS22 followed by your donation amount and send to 70070.

* For full story and reaction - including a full intertview with the family - check back on line and also see The Star tomorrow.