Family chalet is razed
FORMER chief constable Keith Hellawell has lost his beloved holiday home to forest fires raging through the south of France.
The two-bedroom chalet on the Mediterranean coast has been razed to the ground in one of 30 intense blazes that swept through the region.
Mr Hellawell and his wife Bren, who have owned the wood-built chalet for five years, told of their heartache after sifting vainly through the wreckage in an attempt to salvage some beloved keepsakes.
Speaking from his Huddersfield home today, the former West Yorkshire police chief and country's `drugs tsar' described how much the pretty property meant to him and his family.
"Particularly with the work I did it was a sanctuary, something completely different.
"We love Yorkshire and call it our little piece of heaven, but that was another piece of heaven for us.
"It seemed to be so detached from the hurly-burly of a stressful life."
The heavily-forested region between St Tropez and Nice is a destination popular with holiday-makers and famed for its picturesque bays.
The fires, the worst in living memory, have brought devastation to the area at the height of the summer season.
Some 20,000 hectares of pine woodlands were reduced to ashes.
Page 2 - Aftermath