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Irish community rallies round to help gas blast victims



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An Irish retailer was one of the first to offer their support to the Manchester community rocked by a fatal explosion which killed a two-year-old boy.


Little Jamie Heaton was killed when a gas explosion devastated his home in Shaw, Oldham on June 26.


Neighbour Andrew Partington, 27, was also seriously injured in the blast – which was believed to have occurred in his home in Buckley Street.


Up to 10 homes have been destroyed by the explosion, which damaged many more and saw 175 properties evacuated.


A massive relief effort started in the Greater Manchester community following the tragedy and Irish-owned retailer Primark joined the likes of Tesco and Asda in providing goods and services for the hundreds evacuated from their homes in the aftermath.


Oldham Council Leader Jim McMahon said: “I want to pay tribute to everybody who has played their part in responding to these dreadful events. The loss of a child’s life has devastated a local community and affected the whole borough. As a father I cannot begin to comprehend the pain felt by the family and friends.”


He added: “As a council I promise that we are here to help – not just for today – but for as long as it takes to help people rebuild their lives.”


Councillor Jean Stretton, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Devolved Services, echoed the sentiment, adding: “The response from the local community and partner groups to this tragic event has been heart-warming. In the immediate aftermath of the blast the local Asda supermarket gave up their restaurant to people evacuating the area, offering food and shelter and other items throughout the day. Several other local stores including Tesco and Primark also came forward with offers to assist in whatever way they could.”


Oldham Council has established a Rest Centre, Advice Centre and Donations Centre for evacuated families in Shaw.


Anyone affected or in need of assistance should contact the council directly on 0161 7707770.


An official fundraising drive has also been launched by the Forever Manchester Disaster Relief Fund, a charity which co-ordinates help for communities across Greater Manchester.


Donations can be made to Forever Manchester (marked Shaw), 5th Floor Speakers House, 39 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2BA or via


A charity supporting all residents affected by the explosion has also been set up by Oldham council. Donate to the Oldham Distress Fund by visiting phoning 0161 770 6611 or drop donations off at Debenhams in Oldham Town Centre.


Have you been affected by the Oldham Explosion tragedy? Or can you help someone who has?


Contact the Newsdesk on 02089004329 or email fionaaudley@http://


A 32-year-old, from Shaw, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and has been bailed until August 9 pending further inquiries.




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