Family of mum whose four kids died in petrol bomb arson blaze to hold Christmas vigil as she remains ill in hospital one year on

Relatives and well-wishers will host a memorial for the youngsters next week on the anniversary of the devastating fire.

But their mum Michelle Pearson – who was also too poorly to attend their funeral in September – is still gravely ill in hospital.

The family will hold a vigil outside the house in Walkden, Greater Manchester, on Tuesday.

The children’s gran Sandra Lever said on Facebook: “The Pearson/Lever family have invited the community to come and join us on Tuesday 11th December at 6:30pm to light up Jackson Street.

“Everybody is welcome to join, to celebrate and remember our 4 angels one year on. If you would like to bring a candle so we can light up the street you would be more than welcome.

“There will be a Christmas tree where people can write personal messages and there will be a slideshow featuring the children. Hope to see everyone there, please share.”

Brave Michelle defied to the odds to survive as medics did not think she would live when she taken into hospital with devastating burns.

She was kept in an induced coma and only found out in April the appalling news that her children had perished.

Demi Pearson, 14, Brandon, eight, Lacie, seven, and Lia, three, all died following the devastating blaze.

Zak Bolland, 23, admitted launching the fatal attack after being involved in a petty feud with the victims' 17-year-old brother Kyle Pearson, who escaped from the house with a friend, Bobby Harris.

David Worrall, 25, was accused of removing a fence panel from the garden of Michelle's home and smashing a kitchen window before two lit petrol bombs were tossed inside at around 5am.

He was also convicted of the murders by jurors at Manchester Crown Court.

Bolland's girlfriend Courtney Brierley, 20, was found guilty of four counts of manslaughter.

Bolland was given a minimum of 40 years and Worrall was handed a minimum of 37 years. Brierley will serve at least 21 years.

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Selfless mother-of-four adopts widow grandmother, 81, for Christmas

‘We have a brand new NAN!’: Selfless mother-of-four adopts widow, 81, into her family after she spent the last decade alone at Christmas

  • Taylor-Danielle Pearson, 27, from Bristol, welcomed Irene Smith into her home
  • The two struck up a friendship after Mrs Pearson volunteered with the elderly 
  • Mrs Smith now goes round to the family’s home regularly for tea and catch ups

A selfless mother has ‘adopted a nan’ just in time for Christmas after spending the last decade alone, only leaving the house ‘once a week’.

After volunteering with the elderly, Taylor-Danielle Pearson, 27, from Bristol, struck up an instant bond with widow Irene Smith, 81, and has since welcomed her into the family.

The mother-of-four wants to encourage more people to invite lonely OAP’s over for Christmas because ‘the elderly shouldn’t be forgotten’. 

Mrs Smith was grateful to be welcomed into the family after spending the last seven years celebrating Christmas on her own.  

And now, despite not living with the family, the widow pops in most days for a cup of tea and a catch up.

Mrs Pearson’s children, Lexi, 11, Harley, seven, Sienna, five and Amelia, three, have been taught from an early age that Christmas isn’t just about presents.

Irene Smith, 81, with her new family, Taylor-Danielle Pearson, 27, and children (from left to right) Lexi, 11, Harley, seven, Amelia, three and Sienna, five

The mother said: ‘Irene was missing the family environment when we first met at my South Bristol volunteering group for the elderly, and I knew straight away that I wanted to adopt her into our family.

‘I took her to appointments, and we got chatting. She met the kids when I hosted a tea party and something just clicked. She felt like one of the family.’

‘It’s so important that the elderly don’t get forgotten. Christmas is about giving.

‘Irene lives a distance away and lives alone, ever since her husband died. She’ll go out maybe once a week.

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‘Last year when she came around for Christmas Dinner, she cried. Since her husband passed away ten years ago, she’s spent every festive season alone.’

Now the children’s relationship with Irene has gone from strength to strength. They’ll give her hugs and kisses.

‘I used to be so close to my own nan, and Irene is all alone most of the time. This year, I want to make it that extra special for her.’

The Pearson family will be renting their local village hall this year so Irene is able to invite more of her friends, who might otherwise be alone, to join in a family Christmas dinner.

Mrs Smith has spent the last decade alone and only left the house once a week before meeting her new family

Irene Smith said, ‘Last year was wonderful. The kids waited to open their presents with me there too, and now I’m actually looking forward to Christmas.

‘I feel like part of the family, with the kids being so affectionate. This year, we’re having a party with more of my friends coming – I’m very excited.

‘Christmas used to be such a lonely time for me, and difficult without my husband.’

Mrs Pearson has reached out to local family and friends to help gather supplies and support in order for the family to have a proper Christmas bash.

The children are now so fond of the widow that they give her kisses and hugs and open presents with her

Husband, Michael Pearson, 29, has taken on the responsibility of tackling the turkey whilst Taylor has begun a fundraising frenzy.

She’s hoping to be able to hire a singer, as well as gathering up some mince pies and sherry to make sure a merry Christmas is had by all.

She said: ‘We’ve been so fortunate in the relationship we’ve found with Irene and we want to extend that to others.

‘No-one deserves to be lonely, especially at Christmas, and we’ve benefited from this too!

‘We have a brand new nan – not many families can say that.’

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Irish girl, four, cries when told she’ll spend Christmas homeless

‘I have nowhere to stay, we have nowhere else’: Heartbreaking video of four-year-old girl crying after being told she will spend a third Christmas homeless shows reality of Ireland’s housing crisis

  • Leanne Dunleavy, 30, and daughter Poppy, four, from Dublin, are homeless
  • They have been in emergency accommodation and shelters for two years 
  • She filmed Poppy crying when she is told they won’t have a house for Christmas
  • Heartbreaking video sees young girl sobbing and saying  ‘I have nowhere to stay’

A video of a little girl sobbing after being told she has to spend her third Christmas in a hostel has highlighted the plight of the many young victims of Ireland’s housing crisis.

The footage shows Poppy, four, sitting on a bed in a hostel in Dublin, Ireland, crying over not having ‘anywhere to stay’ this Christmas.  

Poppy and her mother Leanne Dunleavy, 30, have been in and out of homeless shelters for the past two years. 

Homeless: The heartbreaking video of little Poppy, four, was filmed by her mother Leanne Dunleavy, 30, from Dublin, Ireland, who has been homeless for the past two years

Ms Dunleavy, a hair stylist, says they became homeless due to unforeseen circumstances and that she does not expect her situation to change anytime soon. 

Her video has racked up more than 167,000 views on Facebook, with many people blaming the Irish Government for Ms Dunleavy’s situation.   

One Facebook user wrote: ‘Poor child everyone needs to get out and march, bring this country to a stand still, that’s what needs to happen.’  

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Another said: ‘Utterly heartbreaking to watch, this country is a bloody disgrace.’  

The short clip shows Poppy distraught with red puffy cheeks and tears streaming down her face.

Ms Dunleavy is heard asking her why she is upset, to which a crying Poppy replies: ‘Because I have nowhere to stay, because we have nowhere else.’

Heartbreaking: Little Poppy is seen crying having been told she will be spending a third Christmas without a home 

One of many: Poppy is one of more than 3,700 children who are currently homeless and living in emergency accommodation in Ireland

Tragic: Ms Dunleavy, a hair stylist, says her and Poppy became homeless due to unforeseen circumstances and that she does not expect her situation to change anytime soon.


Some 10,000 people are homeless in Ireland, including more than 3,800 children, the latest official figures show, a number which has trebled in the past four years.

A 300 million euro affordable housing package has been allocated in this year’s budget, but the government has been criticised for not acting fast enough. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar defended his government’s record, pointing to nearly 20,000 new homes expected to be built before 2019.

‘There are limiting factors. There’s only so much concrete, only so many service sites, only so many construction workers. We’re ramping up things as quickly as we can,’ he said.

While Ireland was left with a surplus of houses after a property crash in 2008, it has come nowhere near providing the number needed to keep up with a rapid economic recovery, with rents in Dublin almost 20 per cent above their pre-crisis peak.

While rising, supply is still short of the 35,000 new builds analysts say are needed annually just to keep up with demand.

Ms Dunleavy then replies by asking how does that make you feel, to which little Poppy replies with ‘sad’.

Trying to make her daughter feel better, Ms Dunleavy insists: ‘But we’re going to be together.’

However, Poppy is still in bits, and cries out that she misses her old dog ‘Milly’.

Ms Dunleavy, again tries to reassure her child by saying; ‘When we get a new house we’ll get a new dog’.

‘I don’t want to get a new dog’ cries out Poppy before her mother replies says: ‘We’ll get a new house though won’t we.’

Poppy then cries further before asking: ‘Can I get a new dog?’

Speaking today, Ms Dunleavy said no child should have to suffer homelessness, as Poppy prepares for her third homeless Christmas.

She said: ‘I just wanted to show the government how it’s not only the parents that suffer because we get on with it.

‘It’s tearing the children apart, no child should be spending Christmas for the third time in homeless accommodation and by the looks of things it will probably be a fourth Christmas next year.  

‘Loads of lovely people have contacted me and a lot of women that are in the same situation and other people that used to be in the same situation.’  

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‘Four Weddings & A Funeral’ Is Getting A Sequel — Sort Of

If you’re a fan of British romantic comedies — and who isn’t, really? — then get excited, because one of the absolute classics, Four Weddings And A Funeral, is getting a sequel — sort of. The cast of the 1994 hit is reuniting for a short film for Red Nose Day 2019, and there will, indeed, be a fifth wedding.

One Red Nose Day And A Wedding will star the original cast members, including Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Kristin Scott Thomas and Rowan Atkinson and will be written by Richard Curtis, who wrote the original 1994 smash hit. Curtis is the man behind not only Four Weddings, but also Notting Hill, Love Actually, and Bridget Jones’ Diary. So if you love romantic comedies from across the pond (or just anything Hugh Grant), he’s your man to salute.

Curtis also is the co-founder of the charity Comic Relief, which airs the biennial Red Nose Day event. Curtis spoke to The Guardian about the Four Weddings and a Funeral reunion. "We’re all definitely older — I suspect no wiser. It’s been really enjoyable working out what’s happened to all the characters," he said. "Now they get back together for the fifth wedding, where, as usual, not everything will go as planned." Those Brits really do know how to put on a farce.

The one-off sequel, which catches up with the original cast of characters 25 years later, will air on Red Nose Day on March 15, 2019, in the UK, and later in May in the US. One Red Nose Day And A Wedding is the second of Curtis’ rom-com revisits for the charity event. For Red Nose Day 2017, he wrote Red Nose Day Actually, a shrewd move as the Love Actually nostalgia was thick in the air. That short film also starred an impressive number of actors from the original cast, and answered questions about just where everyone ended up. Including, finally, a happy ending for Laura Linney’s character, which she deserved all along.

Four Weddings And A Funeral might not be as well-known in the US, but it’s one of Britain’s most beloved films. According to the Guardian, "the film was named the 23rd best British film of the 20th century in a 1999 poll commissioned by the British Film Institute," and it received Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay (for Curtis). It also earned Grant a Golden Globe Award. In fact, it was the film that propelled him to stardom, and he worked again with Curtis on another wonderful British romantic comedy, Notting Hill, before also starring in Love Actually.

If you haven’t seen Four Weddings And A Funeral, add it to your rom-com list and be sure to catch up before the reunion. It’s delightfully British and charming. Moreover, this won’t be the last Four Weddings-inspired content audiences will receive in the coming year. Mindy Kaling, rom-com lover above all, adores it so much that she is even turning it into a series for Hulu. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the anthology was greenlit in May, and none other than the original writer and Red Nose Day founder himself, Richard Curtis, will be executive producing.

Red Nose Day 2019 is on March 15, 2019. Consider this the official save the date.

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