Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Gas blast family enjoys festive makeover of new home

A Newry family, whose Barcroft Park home was destroyed in a gas explosion last month, featured on this week’s BBC television show Nolan’s Christmas Special, which highlighted the care and compassion of neighbours and friends whose efforts have secured them a new home just in time for Christmas.

Laura Gray and her three children suffered facial burns in the explosion and were facing a bleak Christmas in temporary accommodation until neighbours in the close-knit community came out in force to help them.  Keen to offer practical assistance to the beleaguered family, residents came together to highlight their unfortunate situation and helped them find a new home in time for Christmas. A flurry of cash donations, clothes and furniture were also made after appeals by the Barcroft/ Ballybot Concerned Residents Action Group to help Laura and her family start over.

Upon hearing of their plight and of the incredible response of the local community, the Nolan Show stepped in to set a magical Christmas scene at the Gray household and the children’s excited reaction to the wonderful Christmas makeover was captured in an emotional VT aired on the BBC One programme on Wednesday night.

In a interview with the show’s host, Stephen Nolan, an overwhelmed Laura recalled the harrowing details of the explosion that she and her children so narrowly escaped without serious injury and she paid tribute to the community which have come together to help them.

“We thought we were on our own, stuck in a B&B for Christmas then the whole community between Ballybot and Barcroft all came together and helped me. Even the children have noticed the generosity which is brilliant.  We’re actually looking forward to Christmas now,” an emotional Laura said.

During the show, which also featured country music stars Nathan Carter and Daniel O’Donnell, presenter Stephen Nolan spoke to Laura in the studio audience to wish the family well and said everyone hopes that Santa will make Christmas “really, really special” for the Gray family. 

St. Ronan’s Primary School in Newry also appeared on the Christmas show with footage of the Primary 1 Nativity Play aired as well as a host of cute Christmas related chats between the four and five year olds and the Nolan team during their special visit to the school earlier this month.