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Brave 10-year-old girl saved three lives in fire tragedy at Victoria Street, Loughborough


The fianceè of a man who died after a flat fire has told how the heroic actions of her 10-year-old daughter saved three lives.

Claire Neale's partner, Darren Watson, died on Saturday night, 12 hours after being rescued from a blaze at the home they shared in Victoria Street, Loughborough.

Yesterday, Claire told how her daughter, Tegan-Louise Britt, rescued a six-year-old child who was staying at the flat, returned to drag her mother out and then tried in vain to wake Mr Watson.

She said: "Tegan got the other child out before coming back for me and then trying to wake Darren up.

"It's only thanks to her efforts and the grace of God that four lives weren't taken.

"She can't sleep, she can't take it in. She feels guilty that she couldn't save Darren as well. She feels numb."

"I can recall trying to get back into the fire to get Darren out. The neighbours kept taking me downstairs.

"I didn't want to get into the ambulance to take me to hospital until Darren was out.

"Darren was in the next bay to me in intensive care, but then they took him to a side ward. I was with him until he took his last breath."

Claire was treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.

She said: "I've not just lost Darren, there were 44 years of my life in that flat. We're just taking each day as it comes."

Among mementoes lost were photographs of Claire's son, Robert Wooding, who died, aged seven weeks, in 1992.

She also has three daughters and a son.

Elayne Brooker, landlady at the Custard House pub, in Baxter Gate, where Claire works and Darren, 39, was a regular who did odd jobs, is organising collections of cash and household items to help the family get back on their feet.

She said: "Daz was a gent and a big part of this pub.

"He used to help out by doing the barbecue at family fun days."

Donations of household items and furniture have poured in since news of the tragedy spread across the town.

Claire, who is living with Elayne and her partner, Lee Askew, while Tegan is staying with relatives, said: "I want to say a heartfelt thank- you to all those who have donated.

"Everybody has rallied round, the support has been amazing."

Mr Watson moved to Loughborough two years ago after separating from his wife and their three children in Wales.

His mother, Angela Osborne, 73, of De Lisle Court, Loughborough, said: "The separation hit him hard and he was missing his children. He thought the world of Tegan.

"He was sociable, he had a heart of gold and wouldn't hurt anybody."

Sister Judy Osborne, 34, of Thorpe Hill, Loughborough, said: "It would have been his 40th birthday next week, it's mine tomorrow and we were supposed to be going out to celebrate.

"It will be his son's 11th birthday on the day of his funeral.

"He was the best brother I could ever have."

Leicestershire Police and the fire service are still carrying out an investigation to establish the cause of the fire. The fire service initially stated the blaze was caused accidentally.

Mr Watson's funeral will be held at Loughborough Crematorium on Friday, February 1 at 11.45am. Family flowers only.

Donations can be made to Leicester Royal Infirmary's intensive care unit.

Brave 10-year-old girl saved three lives in fire tragedy at Victoria Street, Loughborough

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