Fundraiser launched for homeworker who lost everything in house fire

Natalie Batchelor fundraiser house fire
By Lisa James
07/06/2023
Home » Fundraiser launched for homeworker who lost everything in house fire

A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help travel homeworker Natalie Batchelor get back on her feet after fire ruined her home and all her possessions.

Single mum Natalie, from Henfield near Gatwick, has been living in emergency accommodation with 11-year-old son Archie since the blaze, on 26 May.

She’s struggling financially and has been told it could take four months for the insurance company to finalise the claim and the pair could be in temporary accommodation for nine months.

The cause of the fire is still to be confirmed but it’s believed it was a faulty kitchen appliance.

Natalie told Travel Gossip: “I had literally just left the house to pick up my son who’d come back from a PGL school residential.

“Within minutes I had a call from a friend to say my house was on fire. It was so quick. We’re devastated. Everything has been ruined.”

Natalie, 45, has spent most of her working life in travel, including with TUI, Flexiski and Ski World, before moving into homeworking.

She left her job as a homeworker for Hays Travel in March 2020 when the pandemic forced schools to close and she spent the next few months homeschooling Archie.

In autumn 2020, she started another job as a homeworker, this time with the Holiday Village, where she worked until May 2022, before joining British Airways Holidays.

Two weeks before the fire, she had started a new, self-employed position with sales and marketing representation company LJR Consultancy, which represents luxury hotels worldwide. The company is allowing her to work limited hours while she deals with the aftermath of the fire.

Before the fire, Natalie had also been renting out her house on Airbnb to help make ends meet and pay off some debts incurred during COVID.

“I was trying to keep my head above water,” she said.

“When we had guests, my son and I would sleep in the garage, which I’d part-converted into a snug. I was getting out of debt and I was starting to believe that things were getting better.

“I’m a single mum and the only breadwinner. There is no back up. But we are fine and we are alive.

“I’ve had lovely people who have helped out with things like food parcels. I’m sitting here in a dress from the Samaritans. I’m overwhelmed with all the offers of support and help we have received.

“At times like this, when you are the solo carer, you hit rock bottom hard.”

Travel Gossip was alerted to the fundraiser by Your Holiday Booking agent Natalie Gibbs who said: “We met on a fam trip and I wanted to help spread the word. It’s heart-breaking what has happened.

“It would be lovely to get behind her and help her rebuild for her and her beautiful boy.”

Click here for the Gofundme page.

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