Rosehill Street - family not home for Christmas
IT HAS been an unforgettably dramatic year for the residents of one Cheltenham street.
And life is still unsettled for some from Rosehill Street after a dramatic explosion in May saw three homes demolished.
Nineteen-year-old Miranda Howard was among those unable to spend Christmas at home.
She lived with her mum Gail at number 38, but their home has not been declared safe since the explosion.
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She said: "It has been really stressful because we have had to move around three times since it happened. Our house was full of cracks so it was not safe to stay there.
"We originally thought we would be back in before Christmas, but now we don't know when it will be safe to go back."
Miranda, who works at Cheltenham Ladies' College sport centre, was taking part in a walking challenge in Dartmoor when the explosion happened.
Her father and brother live next door as the family had planned to combine the two houses into one property.
She and her mother have been staying with them at number 40, after that property was declared safe a month ago.
Also celebrating Christmas was Liz Newton, 39, who said she was hoping for a less stressful 2013.
The explosion at the home of Betty Hodgkiss, on the other side of the road, sent a door hurtling towards Liz, smashing through her window and showering her with glass.
She said: "We had the windows smashed in, the roof was damaged, there were cracks down the front of the house and the front door was destroyed."
She was able to move back into her home in October, after staying with her parents for more than five months.
"It has been very stressful. It's just something you would never expect to happen." she added.
Also in the street were Ed and Claire Cook, who moved back home in August with their three cats. The couple's home needed a new door, windows and work on the roof after the explosion.
Claire, 31, said: "Everybody is looking forward to the houses being rebuilt and we were so pleased to be back in before Christmas.
"We knew quite a few of our neighbours the explosion and it has always been a friendly street, but I really do think it has bought us closer."
ON May 10, a loud bang echoed down the street as there was an explosion at number 34, the home of Betty Hodgkiss.
The 81-year-old was rescued by firefighters in an operation that lasted for a couple of hours.
The houses on either side of Mrs Hodgkiss’ home were demolished, leaving a gap where numbers, 32, 34 and 36 once stood.
Investigations by the Health and Safety Executive about what caused the explosion are still ongoing. They have now turned their attention to the gas boiler in Mrs Hodgkiss’ home.
Planning applications were lodged with Cheltenham Borough Council to rebuild the three homes. They were quickly approved.
Among them was the home of Richard and Sarah Drinkwater and their two children who lost everything in the explosion as their four-bedroom home was reduced to rubble. Despite the trauma they have always vowed to move back into a new home on the street.