THE brother of six children killed in a house fire is ‘lucky to be alive’ after moving from the family home in Derby to stay with relatives in Clipstone.
Fourteen-year-old Michael Philpott heard about the blaze on the news and was devastated to learn Jade (10), John (nine), Jack (seven), Jessie (six) and Jayden (five) had been killed in the tragedy on Friday morning.
Another brother Duwayne (13) was taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital but parents Mick (54) and Mairead (31) allowed medics turn off his life support machine on Monday.
Michael, who has been living with godfather Andrew Allsop, on Highfield Road, since March, described his brothers and sisters as ‘wild and very active’.
He added: “Jayden and John were constantly running about, Jessie was always blabbering on and Jack was always on his computer. I used to take Duwayne fishing at the weekend.”
Godfather Andrew (55) said: “Both our families have been absolutely ripped to shreds. My son Matthew was going to be godfather to Jayden and he feels like he’s lost a son.
“Neither him or Michael are sleeping and I think they need professional help. We are doing all we can as a family to support them but it is very difficult.
“I took Michael to Derby to see his grandma Margaret and she just broke down in tears when she saw him. She said if he was still living at the house, he wouldn’t be here today.
“She said God sent him to live with us for a reason.”
Andrew became close friends with Mick Philpott when he used to run a bakery in Pleasley and later became Michael’s godfather.
Andrew said: “I was talking with Mick a few months ago and he suggested Michael coming to live with us for a while as a bit of a holiday. He then asked him if we could look after him for a few more weeks while they sorted out some problems they were having.
“I’ve spoke to Mick a lot since it happened and he is devastated.
“Michael could easily have been at the house but luckily he wasn’t.”
Both families have now launched a fundraising campaign to help pay for the six funerals.
Andrew’s children and Michael are doing a sponsored run from Clipstone to Victory Road in Derby where the fire happened.
They have purchased 12 T-shirts to wear on the 30-mile run, but need help from local businesses to get them printed and also need collection buckets.
Money will also be raised at car boot sales and the families are looking for people to donate items.
The run will take place on Saturday 9th June setting off from Highfield Road at 9am.
For more information, to contact the family and to give sponsorship visit www.facebook.com/TheTragicLossOfThePhilpottFamilyFund.
Mick Philpott, who has featured in national newspapers and on TV for being a dad of 17 from five different women, has other children living in the Mansfield area.
Former partner Heather Kehoe, who lives in Rainworth, is the mother of another son.
David, Richard and Michaela, who are all in their 20s, were brought up by their mother Pamela, also in Rainworth.