RESIDENTS have been ‘moved to tears’ by the generosity of their peers following last week’s fatal gas explosion.

On Thursday, December 27, residents of Launcelot Close were awoken at around 2.30am by a blast that killed one man, destroyed one home and severely damaged another.

While investigations were carried out, a cordon was put in place and families were evacuated, including Roslyn and Robin Hughes.

Due to their involvement with King Arthurs Way Hall, the pair immediately opened up the space.

Robin, chair of trustees for the hall, said: “We opened up straight away and let one of the firefighters know that the hall would be open, and anybody that needed somewhere warm to go, we were here.”

Later that morning online supermarket Ocado, which has a warehouse on Walworth Business Park, arrived at the centre with donations of food for those displaced from their homes.

Expecting delivery of essentials, volunteers were surprised when 30 crates of groceries were unloaded.

Robin said: “The generosity was beyond description really. There was over 150 carrier bags worth of all sorts of food, running from joints of meat to snacky type stuff.”

Roslyn added: “It does choke you up, it really does move you to tears.”

During the day, individuals turned up offering to help, and Tesco and Greggs arrived with donations of food and other items.

Helen Jephcott, who looks after the admin for the hall, has also been working hard to support those affected.

Alongside helping to open the hall every day since the disaster, she has orchestrated a collection of goods and clothing for those whose homes were destroyed, with people from the community visiting the hall to donate.

Helen said: “It’s people you know that don’t have a lot themselves anyway, and so some of those people, we know them through the hall, and we know that they struggle and for them to want to donate, it is lovely.

“It has been busy, it wasn’t the quiet Christmas I was hoping for.”

Robin and Roslyn have now been able to return to their home but described their shock at seeing the destruction caused by the explosion just a few doors down.

Robin said: “Roz sort of looked down the terrace on the evening and saw some damage to the end of the building. And the first time you look, you just think ‘oh, there’s some damage to the end of the building’.

“It wasn’t until the second time, you realised actually there’s another house that’s not even there anymore. Number one had gone.”

Roslyn added: “There was a strong smell of gas, and clouds of dust and debris everywhere.

“It sort of came down like snow, it was in my hair. And I thought this is just like walking into a film set, or something from Eastenders.

“You just can’t make it up, you can’t believe that it’s actually happened on your own doorstep.

“It’s horrendous really. Terrifying.”

The couple are proud of the way their community rallied together.

Robin said: “When you read all the negative things about the town on social media, particularly about this estate, it is no reflection of the reality at all.”

Test Valley Borough Council has set up a donation scheme to help those affected, with full details available on its website - - while King Arthur’s Way Community Centre is still accepting contributions of gifts and items for those impacted by the incident last week.