A FAMILY whose lives were torn apart and pets were killed by a devastating house fire are on their way to a happy Christmas thanks to the overwhelming generosity of hundreds of wellwishers.

Clair and Gary Cooper returned to their home in Quintilis from an event on November 2 after being alerted to a fire. They found their home engulfed by flames.

The couple and their children Aiden and Ryan were fine, but pets including Sidney the Yorkshire Terrier, Rango the skink and Lemon the crested gecko all died.

In the month since, the Cooper family has moved into a rented house in Warfield while their gutted home is redecorated, which could take a year.

Mrs Cooper said: “We are trying to scrape together a Christmas tree at the moment. Our decorations were in the garage which is a separate building.

“We are taking little baby steps. My grandparents passed away a few years ago. We lost a lot of photographs of them, and photos of my husband when he was a child. The awards my kids won at school. It’s all gone. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.

“It was very upsetting for the kids. We were having anger issues and tears. It is an absolute tragedy and it could happen to anybody.”

As hard as losing their home and treasured items has been, the Coopers quickly found they were not alone.

While they worked to get their lives back together, close to 500 people donated more than £11,000 to help the Coopers have a happy Christmas.

One boy who has taken their story to heart was James Bishop, a nine year-old Bracknell resident who trains at Blaze Kickboxing with the Cooper children.

After witnessing Mrs Cooper rush to her burning home from the gym and the emotional fallout from the fire on the family, James decided to help out.

His mum, Lynda Bishop, said: “He asked for sponsorship from friends, family and all the teaching and support staff at Warfield CofE school to complete as many burpees as he could at the Allstars youth group at St Michael’s Church.

“He then went on to do a penalty shootout in his lunch time at school. In total my amazing son raised £643 which I am sure will help the family to enjoy the Christmas festivities a little more than they may have done previously. I am a super proud mum.”

James’ kind-heartedness and the generosity of those who have chipped in online has helped the Coopers get their lives back together.

Mrs Cooper added: “It has completely blown us away. We didn’t know this was all going on and a lot of it is from people we don’t even know.

“A lot of the money is to be spent on sorting out Christmas for the kids, replacing things like the games and their scout uniforms costs a lot of money.

“For us this was a complete tragedy, but to know your fellow man is there to help when you’re down is just amazing.”