LOCAL residents are rallying round to support an elderly couple whose home of 30 years was destroyed in a fire.

Dozens of people have responded to an appeal to help Malcolm and Sharyn Richardson, who saw their home go up in flames on Saturday.

Melanie Cairns, who is originally from Malton and lives next door to the couple in Moor Monkton, near York, said it was 'heartbreaking'.

She said: "There is nothing left to salvage, nothing at all. They've lost everything."

" The couple run a small farm and have animals to feed on top of rebuilding their home."

Melanie said Malcolm had just gone outside to clear snow off his car when he saw smoke coming from the house.

"He went back to investigate and on opening the door, the fire exploded outwards blowing Malcolm back.It was so fortunate as it could have sucked him in."

Donations have been pledged on the Facebook group Sharing Malton and Norton and a collection point has been set up at Rivermead care home in Norton.

Morrisons in Malton has also donated essential items.

Kathryn Dunn, the store's community champion, said: "As soon as I heard about the couple and their devastating loss I put together a care package of essentials for them, my heart goes out to them, it is truly an awful situation to be in at this already difficult time."

Malcolm said he and Sharyn were grateful for everyone's support.

"It was such a shock and all happened so quickly. The loss of all our personal possessions is what hurts, so much of our lives were in that building which we built ourselves. We are so grateful to have the support of our everyone without who, I don't know what we would do. To make a donation go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/melanie-cairns?