NEWPORT residents have been busy over the last couple of weeks helping a member of their community who lost all his possessions in a fire last month.

About 25 people in Bettws have contributed to efforts to collect items for Merv Whittington, 36, whose flat on Exe Road was badly damaged after a fire on July 15.

And Newport councillor Kevin Whitehead has led efforts with other residents and collected items from donators on Friday and yesterday.

Cllr Whitehead said: “People have come up with everything – plates, bowls and bedding. The response has been fantastic.I am really proud of Bettws. And Merv is ever so humble. I just said what’s happened is unfortunate but we are going to sort you out.

“This is what Bettws people do. People really rallied around. We have had things happen before but (Mr Whittington) lost everything. The people with the least have given the most.”

Items donated will now be kept in a Newport city council lock up at the Bettws depot on Lambourne Way ready for when Mr Whittington’s landlords, Newport City Homes, have refurbished his flat to its condition before the blaze.

But he said he is looking forward to moving into his renovated flat. He is currently in staying in temporary accommodation on Monnow Way.

Mr Whittington said: “My friends were brilliant putting me up after the fire and getting me clean clothes. And I have had a lot of help from the community.

“I am looking forward to moving back in. It will take a while to get the lot decorated and they have got a lot of work to do in the flat.”

Mr Whittington was brought up in Bettws, left when he was 16 and moved back to the area six or seven years ago, he said.

A South Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said the cause of the incident was accidental.