£300,000 raised for ex-Marine whose house was burnt down after he stood up to 10 yobs


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Sean Ivey, 39, his wife Kate and their children Benjamin, six, and Georgia, eight, were forced to flee their home in Wingate, Co Durham, when their car and caravan were torched in March

Sean Ivey and his family were forced to flee when yobs set his car and caravan on fire in March
Sean Ivey and his family were forced to flee when yobs set his car and caravan on fire in March

An ex-Royal Marine whose house was burnt down when he stood up to yobs spoke of his joy today after well-wishers raised £300,000 to rebuild it.

Sean Ivey, 39, his wife Kate and their children Benjamin, six, and eight-year-old Georgia were forced to flee their home following the arson attack in March.

Their car and caravan were torched on the drive, flames spreading to the property in the early hours of the morning.

It came after Sean, 39, spoke out against lawless gangs in their village of Wingate, Co Durham. After months in rented accommodation, they were finally able to return to their rebuilt home to enjoy Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Sean Ivey outside his fire-damaged house in Wingate, County Durham
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Image:

Newcastle Chronicle)

Sean, now working for a veterans’ charity, said: “It is just a huge huge thanks to the public who donated to make this possible.

“We are so grateful for their generosity. It is just a joy to be back.”

Sean refused to back down when faced with anti-social behaviour in his neighbourhood.

The arson attack destroyed his old uniform, medals, Kate’s wedding dress, and treasured old photos. It also badly damaged his children’s bedrooms.

Sean Ivey has house torched after he spoke out about anti-social behaviour
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Image:

Craig Connor/ChronicleLive WS)

Sean, who served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, added: “It has been a difficult time particularly for my little girl who has been receiving counselling.

“To stand up for what was right and have that happen was very hard for us.”

An online fund started by Sean’s former 45 Commando colleague Kevin Miller raised £301,000, with donations from all over the world.

The arson attack destroyed his old uniform, medals, Kate’s wedding dress, and sentimental photos
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Image:

Sean Ivey)

The family also receives counselling and support from The Royal Marines Charity. In heartwarming footage, they were filmed returning home.

Little Ben tells how he is ‘super happy’ to be back.

Georgia adds: “I love the house.” Kate, 36, a nurse, said they were all ‘relieved’ to be back home.

“From standing in the rubble to this,” she added. “I did not think we would ever see it.”

Kind-hearted strangers from around the world donated £300,000 to help rebuild the home
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Image:

Sean Ivey)

Sean, back at work with veterans charity Finchale Group today, admitted antisocial behaviour was still an issue in his neighbourhood.

So he is setting up a new charity, Commando Kids Youth Initiative, to help disadvantaged children in the area. Prince William contacted the former Royal Marines sergeant to offer his support following the blaze.

His letter stated: “For a person to be put in such a position, simply due to having the moral courage to stand up for what is right, is reprehensible; I stand beside you.”

Sean and his family were able to celebrate Christmas and New Year in their home after it was rebuilt
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Image:

Craig Connor/ChronicleLive WS)

Sean was touched by the gesture, as the Prince made it a personal message. He told how it was not signed ‘Prince William, or His Royal Highness, or from the Duke of Cambridge’, but simply ‘William’.

No one has been charged in relation to the attack. Durham Police made arrests, and carried out a ‘full and thorough investigation”.

But a spokesman added there was “insufficient evidence” to support a charge and no further action would be taken.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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