THE TRAGIC story of a man who lost his wife and two sons in a house fire on Anglesey is the driving force behind a new novel.

Heather Bickley, 46, and her sons Felix, 10, and Oscar, six, died in the blaze at their home in Tyn-Y-Gongl near Benllech in June 2010

Their husband and father, John, survived and now lives in Surrey with partner Jill Barnes who has written a novel entitled “Cloaked in Death, Wrapped in Love.”

Officially released this week, the book, although not directly linked to the incident, does bring up connections and serves as a memoir to the lives of the Bickley’s.

Jill, 53, first met John at school as an eleven year old and the pair became childhood friends. Fast forward many years later and grief has re-united them in a way that neither ever thought it could.

“When I attended the funerals of Heather, Felix and Oscar, I could not have predicted just how their lives would become so embroiled in my own,” Jill explained.

“I had not known them myself, our only link was John. Cloaked in Death, Wrapped in Love” tells the story of how their lost lives brought the paths of two people (Jill and John) careering back together unexpectedly.

“The tragedy became a catalyst for the rekindling of our childhood friendship through a deep bond of enduring mutual affection.”

Above all, the novel gives a powerful insight into the grief that an incident such as the Tyn-y-Gongl 2010 leaves behind.

It also focuses on real life incidents that followed - such as the role Felix and Oscar’s school, Ysgol Goronwy Owen in Benllech, played in paying respects.

Young pupils created planting areas and the school also commissioned an artist to complete a mural in the school foyer in memory of the two young boys they had lost.

“The community were very good to John following the deaths,” Jill said,

“They seemed to wrap themselves around him. The mural at the school was very poignant and featured a picture of a sunflower that Oscar had drawn, and included a football too, in acknowledgement of Felix’s love for the sport.”

Recalling some of the happy memories John keeps of Heather and the children, he said: "My wife was truly the rock and driving force behind our family. She adored Christmas which would start the day after her birthday on November 23 and wouldn't end until I urged her to take down the decorations as we approached the end of January. This week she would have been just fifty-four.

"As another Christmas approaches her presence is very strong - I can see her crazily filling our home with tinsel and lights and so much love, having the time of her life.

"One of the best memories I have of my sons is when we would go on any journey and they would sit together at the front of my van. They just loved sitting high up as we all sang together at the top of our voices to lots of different music. We’d laugh so much it hurt.

A fire-service investigation into the Tyn-y-Gongl fire established that the fire was cause by an electrical fault in an old fridge-freezer in the kitchen pantry. The subsequent inquest concluded that, had a smoke alarm been installed at the property, their deaths may have been prevented.

As a result, both John and Jill say the book, fittingly scheduled for release during Electrical Safety Week this week, serves as a reminder to have working smoke alarms fitted in homes.

"We always think it won’t happen to us and we take for granted how precious life is and somehow mistakenly believe that tragedies are suffered by others," John said.

"But one minute my beautiful family were larger than life, full of so much energy, noise, fun, laughter and love and the next they were piles of dust in three plastic brown urns in my living room. The silence was deafening and the pain indescribable.

"That's why I urge everyone to take the time to ensure they have a smoke alarm installed in their home and to test those already in situ. Most fire services offer free home checks and many provide free smoke alarms if needed. It's a matter of minutes to make you and your family safe. Smoke alarms save lives."

Free excerpts from Jill’s novel can be found at:

Cloaked in Death, Wrapped in Love can be purchased from Amazon.