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Fire-struck artist feels crowdfunding love

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Rufus Fox with new art materials at Ellis House. Picture: Keith Heppell
Rufus Fox with new art materials at Ellis House. Picture: Keith Heppell

A well-known Mill Road character and artist whose 20-year studio went up in smoke has had more than £1,000 donated to a crowdfunding page set up in his name.

The fire in Rufus Fox’s flat caused Mill Road to be cordoned off while buildings were evacuated amid fears of an explosion earlier this month (May 13). Two flats were gutted as a result.

Rufus, 74, was described as “shaken and very angry that his studio had gone up in smoke, taking all his artwork, music and books”.

However, there has been good news this week thanks to donations by dozens of well-wishers after the crowdfunding page ensured that Rufus could buy new materials.

The initial target was £200, but with the JustGiving page mentioned in a report about the blaze in the Cambridge Independent, more than £1,000 has now been contributed – and Rufus received sackfuls of new clothes, including 50 pairs of socks.

“Thanks so much for the donations,” Rufus said of the response. “I really appreciate it. Everyone’s been so kind and it has really moved me. The money will be so helpful – I can get everything going again.”

Helen Tonks, head of housing at CHS Group, said: “Mr Fox is settled and comfortable at his temporary accommodation at one of our sheltered schemes, allowing him to concentrate on his health while we explore his future options. He has told us that he is very grateful for all the kind messages and support he’s had from friends.

“Unfortunately, the work required to the property is likely to take between nine and 12 months because of the damage to the roof structure. Repairs to the flat below, which suffered water damage, are likely to take around a month and that resident is also in temporary accommodation. Decorating, repairs and drying out work to the other two flats is being undertaken while the tenants are still in residence and we thank them for their patience and goodwill.”

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