Daily Mail - The Best Day in my Life

~ 13/04/2002 ~

Last year our house in Barnes, in south-west London caught fire while Cathy (McGowan, of Ready, Steady, Go! fame) and  I were inside. It was 2 days before Christmas and the place was full of presents. I'd been unable to sleep so I'd got up and started tucking into my Christmas whisky, and then, so that I wouldn't disturb Cathy, crawled off to sleep in the spare room, which was her daughter Emma's old room.

At about 4.30am Cathy woke up, choking on the smoke. All the lights in the house had gone. She realised I wasn't in bed, and went down in the black fumes to look for me in my study. But as she opened the door, flames leapt out. She thought I had fallen asleep on the sofa there, and that I was gone. She ran into the street screaming, and someone called the fire brigade. Then, realising I might be in Emma's room, she ran back into the burning house. When she found me I was out for the count, because I was over the study and the fumes had got to me. She grabbed me and we got out. She then went back and got the dog. Real hero stuff. So there we were in the front garden, me in my boxer shorts, Cathy in her nightie. That had to be the worst day of my life. The next part became the best day because of the way people helped. First, there were the ambulancemen and fire services who came straight away and were so kind.

When the fire was out I went back into the house. The fire, caused by an electrical fault, had started in the study, where all the CD's, videos and TV footage was stored. They'd all gone up. My gold discs had melted, too. All our memorabilia was lost, as well as the furniture and carpets. But it didn't really matter that the stuff couldn't be replaced. You carry your memories with you. It was Christmas and I realised that if I didn't work something out, we'd be homeless for quite a while. So the next morning I found a house to rent. Everyone began helping. A local shop lent us some furniture and hampers of food arrived. Friends and family rallied round and the record company replaced the discs I lost. Then fans began searching archives for footage of Cathy and me so we'd have as much memorabilia as possible.

It really brought out the best in everyone. It put life into perspective, giving us a good shake-up and making us really treasure what we have. And if I ever needed a demonstration of Cathy's love, there it was. It made me feel very luck


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