Original article from Kent Live
The Ashford community has come together to help In light of the shock explosion that saw people lose "mostly everything"
Organisations such as the Women's Institute in Willesborough, have allowed locals to bring in donations for the victims of the explosion on Tuesday (May 4).
One organiser has raised more than £5,000 for the victims of the huge blast, which shook neighbouring houses.
Social media has been used as an incredible tool to organise donations for the victims of the blast, whose homes have been destroyed.
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People were dropping of bags of donations at the local WI Hall in Willesborough throughout the day yesterday (May 5).
'It could have been anybody's house, it's very scary'
Three women had dedicated their time to accept bags of clothes and keep them safe, until they can be passed on to the people, who were most affected by the tragic events.
Emma Ellis-Nash, 41, a member of the new Women's Institute in Ashford said: "We've managed to get eight weeks free with Lock and Store, we've got the keys for that this morning.
"There's been loads, there's been at least 30 posts on Facebook with people donating clothes for all different ages, babies, elderly people.
"We're just asking for everything at the minute because I think people have lost, you know, mostly everything.
"I'm really local, I'm only just down the road and obviously, if anything like that ever happened to me, I'd want everyone to come together and especially with what's been going on for the last year.
"People haven't been able to be together in any way, so I just really wanted to be part of coming together, with the community.
"This has really been a bit of an eye opener in the last few days. It's been really lovely, so many people have come forward to help."
Joy Saunders, 53, was a part of the old Womens' Institute committee and it is thanks to her, that the WI Hall is open to take in donations from the community.
Jackie Anderson is the trustee of the hall, she said: "This is the frightening thing, it could have been anybody's house, it's very scary.
"I haven't been over there, but I think everyone's been wonderful from what I can make out. The church, the Salvation Army, all sorts of people.
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"Lots of people have been helping out, so this is the least we can do."
"I can't replace people's memories but I can replace the items"
Ben Farnham, 37, is the organiser of a Facebook residents group called Ashford Read All About It, and has put together a JustGiving page to help the victims of this tragedy.
The page reached its original target of £5k within 24 hours of it being created, it has now extended its target to £10k.
Donations have reached an impressive, £6,464, as this article is being written.
Ben said: "I decided to use that page to fund this terrible tragedy that we are seeing ourselves, here today.
"I can't replace people's memories and photos, but I can replace the items.
"We've got businesses involved, Asda are involved as well as part of their foundation, I bought a Lock and Store so we can- obviously with the items being donated, we're getting so many.
"We had a target on the GoFundme page on £5,000, we've hit that, so I've upped it to £10,000 and I'm hoping with a few of the other things that are in the pipe line, that we can easily hit that as well.
"It was beyond belief really, I didn't realise that it was going to be that quick.
"I knew Ashford was a very good community, when things are down, everyone sticks together."
Ben briefly spoke to KentLive about how the victims of the blast are doing.
He said: "I know some of them are OK, obviously Ethel who was 99, unfortunately she's still in hospital.
"So hopefully a speedy recovery and hopefully I've got some good news for when she comes out."