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Jackie Hallam lost her mother and best friend in the Summerland Fire, as well as suffering unspeakably in her own journey to survive the fire and what followed that night in August 1973.

Only weeks away from her 14th birthday, Jackie was at the top of Summerland with her best friend as the smoke and then the flames broke out. Unable to get to her mother, Jackie and her friend were then at the back of the crowd as the fire overtook them. After passing out of consciousness, Jackie came to and chose to leap from the balcony rather than let the flames consume her. She survived after her fall was broken and was then pulled from the building.

However, having suffered severe burns to her body and losing her mother and best friend in the fire, Jackie’s pain and suffering was only at their beginning.

Jackie tells about her life-long experiences of living with the aftermath of this fire, both in terms of the burns treatment she endured for years and still bears the scars of today, but also the emotional weight and trauma which even today she cannot keep fully contained and controlled.

Jackie’s is a remarkable story told with great bravery and strength.

Please note: This interview handles traumatic events and will make for difficult and upsetting listening. It will not be suitable for younger listeners.

This interview was conducted as a part of the Summerland Remembered project commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Summerland Fire on 2nd August 1973.


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  • Jackie Hallam interviewed by James Franklin (15 May 2023)