THE daughter of an elderly man who died after a blaze in his home will keep his memory alive through a charity challenge.

Martin McCarthy, 82, died last month following a fire at his Egremont bungalow.

Describing the 82-year-old former carpenter, daughter Michelle Rogers said: “He loved a pint, he loved a bet, he loved a laugh, and he was just a lovely, hard-working man.”

Six fire engines attended the fire, battling the blaze for six hours and Mr McCarthy was airlifted to hospital.

Mrs Rogers, a chef at the Seacote Hotel in St Bees, rushed to her dad's house.

The mother-of-three, 54, said: “I was driving to where he lived and I saw the air ambulance go over my car. He was already gone. I got down there and there were police, fire and ambulances everywhere. I just thought he had burned himself. I wasn’t prepared for the worst.”

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) flew to the scene to assist the other emergency services. Mr McCarthy was anaesthetised by a GNAAS doctor before being flown to Royal Preston Hospital.

Mrs Rogers, who lives in Egremont and is a former postwoman added: “When I got to hospital in Preston, I was sat in the waiting room and just didn’t know what to expect. They said that when I went in to see him that he wouldn’t look like my dad. But I wasn’t listening to the bad news. I wouldn’t. I only wanted to hear some good news.”

Mr McCarthy died shortly afterwards.

“When we got home, I cried all night,” she added. “The next day I said I wanted to do a sponsored swim in dad’s memory. My husband Stuart said straight away that it had to be for the Great North Air Ambulance Service, which is a charity.

“We had a song, me and my dad. It was I Love You Because by Jim Reeves. I just kept listening to it and crying. My son said I had to snap out of it. I was listening to it when the air ambulance fundraising pack arrived.”

Mrs Rogers aims to swim 128 lengths of Copeland Pool, Whitehaven, on July 28 in aid of the air ambulance.

Grahame Pickering MBE, chief executive of GNAAS, said: “Mrs Rogers has shown extraordinary strength of character at this difficult time. Her first instinct was not to think of herself, as would have been completely understandable, but instead she thought of how to help others.

“The money she raises will do exactly that, enabling someone else to receive the critical care they need.”

Mrs Rogers has set up a Facebook fundraising page where friends, family, and anyone touched by the story can donate if they wish. To support her, visit