A 78-year-old woman who was on the brink of homelessness after her home burnt down just outside Durrus has thanked the community for helping her find a new place to live.
Teresa Clatworthy, who came to Ireland from Zimbabwe in 2008, was at home with her beloved rescue dogs as Storm Barra howled last December, when a spark from her stove engulfed her house in black choking smoke and flames.
‘I tried to put it out, but it all happened so fast,’ Teresa told The Southern Star.
‘The storm was at its height, I dropped my phone and couldn’t get it to work, so I ran into the road to try and get to one of my neighbours.’
Teresa was in her pyjamas and had no shoes on.
Fortunately a local man, who was driving by, found her and took control of the situation.
‘The fire service was called and I was taken to hospital,’ Teresa said.
Teresa was now in an extremely difficult situation of being homeless, alone in hospital, and she was also worried about her dog and its well-being.
‘Then I caught an infection and ended up in hospital once more.
‘I didn’t know what to do or where to turn to,’ she recalled.
It was at this point that Teresa’s situation was highlighted in her community and a campaign was started to try and find her a home.
‘It was getting more and more difficult with a shortage of homes in the area, especially homes that will take pets,’ said Teresa, who took her search for help to the Bantry Notice Board page on Facebook.
‘I received so many helpful and encouraging comments in reply, as well as offers of a bed for myself and Beccah (Teresa’s rescue greyhound) for which I would sincerely like to thank those who posted.’
However, Teresa’s search for a permanent home was not going well, so badly in fact, that she was facing up to the realisation that she might have to put her beloved greyhound to sleep.
‘Miraculously, I suddenly heard about a lady in Kilcrohane whose tenant had left after renting her cottage for 10 years.’
It proved the perfect solution.
‘The cottage is all I could wish for, it is divine with a beautiful view to boot,’ Teresa said.
Teresa and Beccah have now moved into their new home where they are settling in well.
‘I want to thank everyone who helped us with offers of support over the last few months.
‘Our new home is amazing, my new landlord even had fresh flowers in the house, the fire was lighting and she even made my bed. We couldn’t be happier.
‘This has been a wonderful end to such a horrible time,’ she concluded.