Australia fires: UK woman’s ‘beloved home’ burns

The couple's house burning Image copyright Brendan Hill
Image caption Lily Heath-Massey and her Australian husband, who she met in England, watched their beloved home burn

A woman who recently began a new life in Australia with her husband has seen their “beloved home” destroyed in the bushfires.

Lily Heath-Massey, 23, moved to Milton, New South Wales, in 2018.

She told her family in Malvern, Worcestershire, the couple had escaped from the fire with just their dog, passports and marriage certificate.

She said she was watching the house burn from a neighbouring property and was relieved to be safe.

She said they would have to “rebuild our lives from scratch”.

Ms Heath-Massey said the house, which had been built for her by her husband, was on land owned by her in-laws.

Image copyright Lily Heath-Massey
Image caption Lily Heath-Massey, who married an Australian man she met in England, watched their beloved home burn

She added: “Luckily my in-laws’ home has been untouched – we took shelter in their home while the fires hit and are still here, unable to leave.”

Her father Tyler Massey told the BBC: “We have been worried all through the holidays.”

He said his daughter and husband Brendan had been “evacuated three times” from the area since the fire season began.

“But the threat this time was much worse,” he said.

“My daughter’s father-in-law described it as a fire tornado. It was moving really fast.”

With an 11-hour time difference, they woke to news their daughter, her husband and their dog Herbie were safe but their home was gone.

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Mr Massey, who said he is a “firm believer” climate change was responsible for the crisis, said: “I think everyone is just in shock.

“She was very much enjoying life there. They were just starting out.”

He said his daughter met Brendan, who is Australian, in the UK.

Image copyright Lily Heath-Massey
Image caption Lily Heath-Massey and husband Brendan Hill said they would have to “rebuild our lives from scratch”

Ms Heath-Massey wrote on social media she had put everything in her new home and “not one thing was carelessly chosen”.

“It’s been my safe haven, my favourite place in the world,” she said.

“I know stuff is just stuff and and things don’t matter and I am so glad we are unharmed.

“But as far as stuff and things go we have lost everything but our passports and marriage certificate.”

Since September, fires in Australia have killed at least 23 people.

Dozens of people are missing and some 1,500 homes lost.

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