South Yorkshire mum reveals constant loneliness after deaths of sons in horror blaze

Claire Throssell and her sons Jack and Paul
Claire Throssell and her sons Jack and Paul

A South Yorkshire woman whose two sons died in a house fire started by their dad has spoken of her enduring loneliness as she supported an event aimed at helping isolated people.

Claire Throssell, whose sons Jack, 12, and Paul, nine, died at their dad's home in Tennyson Close, Penistone, Barnsley, in October 2014, was a guest of honour at a tea party aimed at bringing isolated and lonely people in Barnsley together.

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Claire, who has campaigned for the rights of children in access battles in the wake of her family tragedy, said she is 'always lonely' since the loss of her sons.

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Her sons died after their dad, Darren Sykes, lured them to the attic of his home with the promise of new model trains, barricaded them inside and set fire to the house.

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The parents had divorced two weeks earlier and an an inquest into the deaths, it emerged that Mr Sykes had been worried about visitation rights.

At a Superjam party, first hosted by Barnsley Rockley and Stainborough rotary clubs four years ago, Claire joined 170 people to enjoy music, afternoon tea, and company - something that many of the guests often find themselves without.

She said: "Because of what happened to me, I am always lonely.

"I can walk into a room full of people who love me, but it’s the loneliest place in the world because the two faces I want to see aren’t there. There’s a black void there and it is overwhelming.

"Some ladies here have given 50 years of their lives to their partners, and all of sudden, they are left with nobody, no social circle, when they pass away. This is a safe place for people to make friends and support other people who are experiencing the same loneliness."

Event organiser Kathy Markwick said: "The people who come along really look forward to it. One man came along for the first time, and was shy but once he hit the dance floor he was busting out the moves. Another lady, who has dementia, may not remember it when she gets home but has been having a wonderful time in the moment."