Musician's fresh start in Windsor after Croydon riots

Musician's fresh start in Windsor after Croydon riots

Justin Burns

Musician's fresh start in Windsor after Croydon riots

A musician who lost her livelihood and home when rioters went on the rampage in Croydon hopes to rebuild her life in Windsor in 2012.

The life of Carla Rees was turned upside down on August 8 when her flat was torched by yobs roaming the streets.

She moved to a rented property in Clewer, off Mill Lane, in September to escape the memory.

The 35-year-old's two beloved cats perished in the fire which also destroyed handmade alto flutes and 15 years worth of musical scores.

Carla said she has still not received a penny in insurance cash and has had to rely on handouts from family and an appeal fund set up by fellow musicians to survive.

She is also launching classes in Windsor. "I have had to start again," she said. "I am taking it bit by bit and rebuilding where I can by buying essentials. It has been pretty hard."

The professional musician said she had returned to her flat after the first night of rioting but left Croydon because she didn't feel safe.

When she returned the following day her flat was a smouldering shell.

Rioters had set fire to a motorcycle shop underneath her home of 11 years. Petrol supplies in the building meant the blaze ripped through the site in minutes.

"I heard it went up pretty fast, so I was lucky not to be there - at least I am alive."

Carla, artistic director of a chamber ensemble Rarescale and a music teacher, has been told her Croydon flat will be rebuilt by 2014.

"I would be completely destroyed without my family and donations given by complete strangers," she added. The flutist said she was not surprised rioting had broken out in Croydon as it had felt 'more and more scary'.

She moved to Windsor to get away from London and, despite still having no cash, is focused on rebuilding her life in 2012.

"I would like to be able to stay here. I love it. It is very calm and completely different to where I was."

Visit to contact Carla for flute tuition and to donate to a fund set up for her.

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