Man’s tattoo of late wife is only remaining picture of her after house went up in flames

A widower whose house burnt down has lost every photo of his late wife apart from the tattoo on his arm.

Keith Gant’s home in Ashmanhaugh, Norfolk, was destroyed by one of the many wildfires that raged across Britain on Tuesday.

Mr Gant, 75, only realised his house was on fire when he heard the smoke alarm and looked outside.

The resident had drawn the blinds to keep cool on the hottest day of the year and had no idea the field behind his home was engulfed in flames.

He fled his house with just the clothes on his back.

Flames spread rapidly through the property, destroying Mr Gant’s belongings, including the treasured pictures of his late wife Olwen.

He told ITV News Anglia : “I feel devastated. There are a lot of memories (in the house). My wife and I had a lot of happy days here.

“I lost her three years ago and now everything is gone.

“Nobody expected this. I think it’s going to hit me later on.”

According to the North Norfolk News, he added: “I’ll miss her more than ever now. The house is insured but insurance doesn’t bring memories back.”

Mr Gant’s only surviving image of his wife is the “Olwen forever” tattoo on his arm.

Mr Gant and his wife had been married for 40 years before she passed away aged 64 in 2019.

The heartbroken widower realised he was in danger after his smoke alarm went off while he was watching TV.

When he went upstairs and opened the curtains he saw flames looking right at him.

He added that smoke was blowing into the property and nearby trees were on fire.

It comes after at least nine fire services across England declared major incidents on Tuesday.

Fire crews were inundated with calls as temperatures soared above 40C, making it the UK’s hottest day on record.

Devastated homeowners described how they had ‘lost everything’ after having to flee an inferno in Wennington, Essex.

The blaze engulfed several homes and sparked evacuations as firefighters fought the blaze.

Plumes of thick black smoke were seen from up to ten miles from the scene on Tuesday.

Dozens were evacuated to a nearby Premier Inn, grabbing pets and leaving behind medicines, where they desperately waited for news of their loved ones and their homes.

A villager from fire-ravaged Wennington today described how he he fled his home in just the clothes he was wearing.

Tim Stock, 66, who works as the village gravedigger and church warden, managed to escape with his family, two dogs and a tortoise.

He said he managed to get everyone into the church only for that to fill up with smoke.

He said: “I lost everything. The house, the garden, we had two beehives, there was no going back.

“My son took some stuff and went round to his mate’s house but about 10 minutes later that burnt down two/three hundred yards away so he has got nothing either.

“We opened up the church because I have the keys, we got everyone in, people were covered in soot, they were having a drink of water, but then that started filling up with smoke so we had to get everyone out again.

“I’m surprised it didn’t burn down as well to be honest.”