A community has rallied to the support of a bereaved father whose house caught fire while he was at his son’s funeral.

Pete Gale was attending the funeral of his son, Garry Gale, on Thursday, May 11, who died at the age of 36 last month.

Shortly afterwards Pete was informed that a fire had broken out at his house on Portland.

Incident manager Bob Terrey, of Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, said there was “extensive damage” to the first floor and ground floor.

It later emerged that both of Pete’s cats did not make it out of the property and did not survive.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Dan Long, who has worked with Pete for more than ten years at Condor Ferries, set up a JustGiving page to raise money towards the cost of the funeral.

The page says Garry was well liked in the community and gave his time to act as groundsman and youth club manager at Portland Town FC.

The page raised £500 within 24 hours and has so far received £1,850 of donations from more than 100 people.

Dan Long said: “It is nice to see what a great community we have from the responses we’ve already had. As little or as much as people can give would be very helpful to the family.”

He added: “Whether you know the family or not, it is very tragic.”

Dan also said there had been more interest in the page since the fire.

The page aims to collect £5,000 towards the funeral costs, but Dan said this was an arbitrary figure.

He said: “Anymore help we can get would be much appreciated.” 

Craig Macleod, 28, from Wyke Regis, reached out to people on social media after seeing news of the fire at Pete Gale’s home to try and get the community involved in helping Pete and his family.

Since putting up the posts, Craig, who does not know Pete, has had many responses from locals and others, contacting him to offer food, clothes, bedding, wardrobes, cabinets and even a small cooker.

He said: “I am overwhelmed by it, it has been hard to keep up with people. So many people have got involved.

“It is nice to see the community has come together to help this guy.”

He said that much of the house was destroyed by the fire, along with many of Pete’s possessions.

He added: “I have lived on the streets for three and a half years, so I know what it’s like to have nothing. That’s what gave me the emotional attachment.”

So far Pete’s family have decided not to take up the offers Craig has had, but Craig said they were very thankful and grateful to people for getting involved.

If you wish to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com and search Garry Gale.