Watlington residents pull together to raise thousands for fire victim’s family

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Thousands of pounds were raised for the family of a woman who died in a house fire earlier this month during a fundraising day at the weekend.

A charity football match was held in Watlington on Sunday morning to support the family of Debbie Skipper, who died following the blaze in Cecil Close on July 2.

The game was followed by an afternoon and evening of live music in the village’s social club.

And organisers estimate that around £6,000 has already been raised for Mrs Skipper’s family, who were presented with a commemorative bench in her memory, during the day.

Music promoter Triston Finnis, who was one of the organisers of the event, said: “It was fantastic, really emotional, but a good day.”

Mr Finnis is one of a group of villagers who came together to organise the event, which included an auction and raffle, for which he described the response as “incredible”.

The other organisers were Matthew Rodwell, Tom Peel, Beth Jory and Daniel Camp.

And the total is expected to be boosted further by a donation from the social club itself, following its next committee meeting.

Ahead of the weekend, Mrs Skipper’s son, Carl, thanked villagers for their support following his mother’s death, describing the fundraising effort as “breathtaking”.

Her husband Keith also attended the events.

And Mr Finnis said he received a note from a former school friend of Carl’s, who hadn’t spoken to him in many years, containing a cheque for £100.

He added: “Everyone has really pulled together. There were a lot of people there who don’t normally come to a music event, or to the social club, but were there to show their support, which was really, really nice.”