altA Newcastle couple are still in shock after a freak gas explosion levelled their bungalow in Huntcliffe Gardens, Heaton, earlier this month. The blast left husband, Don Robertson, who was at home at the time of the incident, buried under a mountain of fallen bricks. His wife, Maureen, however, was safely away from the scene down at her favourite bingo hall on Shields Road in the Byker area.

Maureen, aged 63, had only been away from the property for a few hours before the extraordinary explosion occurred. She is unable to understand how her hubby managed to survive the falling debris and says, “I don’t know how he is still in one piece.” She claims to “not [be] bothered about memorabilia” and just wants her husband to make a full recovery. Don was taken to hospital, where he has been recuperating, but managed to escape mostly unharmed having singed his hair and moustache. One resident who wasn't quite so lucky as Don was Mrs. Robertson’s budgie who sadly died at the scene.

According to Don, he was in the kitchen “when everything just went up in the air.” Maureen later found the microwave and a kitchen cupboard which had been blown into the garden with the force of the blast.

Sadly, the Newcastle pensioners had only just renovated their home, which the local council has instructed be made safe within 28 days, prior to being flattened and re-built. Ironically, Maureen worked for British Gas for 20 years and, as yet, the cause of the explosion is unclear. Whilst her husband is getting back on his feet, Maureen is being comforted by close friends, and she says that she doesn’t know how she will ever repay them, and is still feeling “so lost.” However, the couple are keen to thank the two men who rescued Don from the rubble, and then make a fresh start.

We are sure that you all join us in wishing this unfortunate couple a speedy end to their problems and we hope that Don gets well soon…. and we also wish them the best of luck in rebuilding their home and their lives.

Whilst this is a rather extreme example, bingo on this occasion may well have saved Maureen’s life. We’re wondering whether any of our readers have had a close shave with disaster? Maybe bingo has helped see you through a particularly rough patch in your life? Whatever your experience or thoughts on this story, we would love to hear from you.