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Family devastated as home in process of revamp is destroyed by fire



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Bungalow was going to be summer haven after year of cancer

A family has been left heartbroken after arsonists targeted their new home, bought to mark new beginnings after a cancer recovery.

A 20-year-old man from Newbury and a 21-year-old man from Thatcham were arrested on Sunday (May 10) on suspicion of arson and burglary in connection with the incident.

The family, who have asked not to be named, sold their family home in Bucklebury and purchased the bungalow, in Bucklebury Road, Stanford Dingley, with a view to spending their first chemotherapy-free summer there.

The mother has worked as a midwife and health visitor in the local community for many years, and they have a son who is a police officer.

The final touches to the property were set to be made this week. However, at around 3am on Sunday, the arsonists struck.

Two fire crews from Newbury and crews from Reading and Pangbourne were called to the blaze, along with officers from Thames Valley Police.

It is thought that the fire had been started in three separate locations at the property – one inside and two externally – and it took around two hours for the four crews to extinguish the blaze.

Speaking to the yesterday (Wednesday), the father said: “We had literally just finished redecorating it... it was completely new inside. What we struggle to understand is any possible motive. It’s pretty much gutted. The roof is absolutely destroyed.

“My wife has only just recovered from breast cancer, having undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“The bungalow was a token to ourselves. We were looking forward to spending the summer there. We are devastated and angry at why anybody would want to burn our home down, particularly someone who serves the community.

“We have lived in the community for years. It beggars belief what goes through people’s minds.

“We bought it because of my wife's illness last year. We sold up our family home in Bucklebury and this week we would have been finished. My wife is heartbroken about it. That’s the misery [the culprits] inflict on ordinary hardworking people.”

A 20-year-old man from Newbury and a 21-year-old man from Thatcham were arrested on Sunday (May 10) on suspicion of arson and burglary in connection with the incident.



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