Family's cherished artwork up in flames

AN artistic grandmother today told how she had been left devastated after her shed packed full of memories went up in flames.Jane Allain had about 100 of her own paintings, artwork made by her five children and eight grandchildren and hundreds of old, irreplaceable, photographs, in her shed-cum-art studio.

AN artistic grandmother today told how she had been left devastated after her shed packed full of memories went up in flames.

Jane Allain had about 100 of her own paintings, artwork made by her five children and eight grandchildren and hundreds of old, irreplaceable, photographs, in her shed-cum-art studio.

But nearly all of them were burnt to cinders when arsonists attacked the shed at the bottom of her home in Sinclair Drive, off Wherstead Road, Ipswich, just after 10pm on Monday.

The 73-year-old - who spent time working with arsonists when she was a social worker - said: “I'm still in shock. I can't believe it's all gone. All the family's history was inside.

“In the afternoon I used to go down and paint. I loved being in there.”

Mrs Allain discovered the fire when a passer-by knocked on her door to tell her the shed was burning.

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She added: “He had called the firefighters and they were round very quickly but there was nothing they could do.

“It was so hot and the windows in the studio just shattered. Thankfully the fence right behind it didn't catch on fire or things could have been even worse.”

Mrs Allain, who worked as a social worker, chef and journalist during her career, said the attack was not the first time she had been targeted by arsonists with her caravan destroyed by fire five years ago.

But she added: “I don't feel angry. I used to work with arsonists and I know the ones I worked with had troubled family lives.

“I'm not sure if this is the case here though. A lot of them seem to do it for an adrenalin rush - they don't have respect for anybody.

“I'm going to keep on painting though - I just don't know where I'll do it or what with because all my equipment is destroyed.”

After firefighters from Princes Street fire station brought the fire in Mrs Allain's garden under control in the early hours of yesterday morning they were then called to another shed fire nearby.

The second blaze broke out at about 2.30am at the back of a Wherstead Road home.

Firefighters believe both fires to be suspicious and have passed details of the suspected crimes to the police.

Anyone with information about the arson should call Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

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