The husband of a young mummy blogger has woken up to the news that his wife and three of their children have died.
Zoe Powell, 29, who was driving, daughters Phoebe and Amelia, eight and four, and six-year-old son Simeon were all killed in a crash on Monday night.
The Powells, including husband and father Josh, 30, and their one-year-old daughter, were travelling on the A40 when their Subaru people carrier was in collision with a heavy goods vehicle near Oxford.
Thames Valley Police said Mr Powell and his youngest daughter were still in a ‘serious’ condition in hospital, but that they ‘are showing signs of improvement and are expected to make a recovery’.
Friends of the family have confirmed Mr Powell has been told about the tragic deaths of his wife of ten years, and three of his children.
Over 1,500 people have already donated to a fundraising page set up following the harrowing family tragedy.
Zoe Powell, who died in the crash, with Phoebe, eight, Simeon, six, Amelia, four, and Joshua.
Zoe Powell, 29, with her daughter Phoebe, eight, smile for the camera in a poignant picture
A source at their local church in Chinnor told The Sun: ‘Josh is aware of the circumstances, the really tragic situation, and he is devastated but he’s got a young baby to look after and he will hopefully pick up for this new life.
‘He will try to stay strong.
‘They are a very faithful Christian family and their faith will help and we will all rally round.’
The fundraising page, set up by Andrew Welsford, reads: ‘This is such a sad and tragic loss for a work colleague on the railway, whose family have been taken from him in a tragic car crash near Oxford.’
Referencing railway workers’ distinctive orange uniform, it added: ‘Many people in the world of the Orange Army will know Josh and I hope will contribute to give him some financial support when he needs later in recovery.’
Grieving friends, neighbours and colleagues described the Powells as ‘delightful’.
The tragedy came months after the family were forced into temporary accommodation when a fire broke out at their home in Chinnor, South Oxfordshire.
A statement from Chinnor Community Church, where the family were regular members of the congregation, said: ‘They have been active, involved and much-loved members of Chinnor Community Church throughout their young lives.
‘The news of the death of Zoe, Phoebe, Simeon and Amelia has shocked and saddened not just their church family here but also the whole community of Chinnor in which they were known and greatly loved.
‘The family placed their belief in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and we are confident that Zoe and the children are now safe in the arms of God.
‘Our thoughts are with the family as we pray for healing and recovery for Josh and his daughter.’
Emergency services rushed to the scene at 9.50pm on Monday to reports of the crash, which took place near a railway overbridge. Pictured: The child victims
The Powell family home was still boarded up today with smoke and fire damage still visible
Police said they received multiple calls from members of the public at 9.50pm on Monday following the crash.
The HGV driver, a 56-year-old man, suffered minor injuries and has co-operated fully with the investigation, officers said.
There have been no arrests, and detectives have requested witnesses or those with dash-cam footage to contact them.
Senior investigating officer Sergeant Dominic Mahon, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit based at Bicester, said: ‘We are able to update on the condition of the two other injured people, a 30-year-old man and an 18-month old girl.
‘Although their conditions are still serious, they are showing signs of improvement and are expected to make a recovery.’
Sgt Mahon said the lorry driver had ‘co-operated fully,’ with police and had written a witness statement.
It emerged yesterday the devoted family had faced anguish months earlier after their home burned down, destroying many of their possessions.
Mr and Mrs Powell had rushed their four young children out of their home, wearing nothing but their pyjamas during lockdown after a blaze engulfed all the rooms in the house.
Her husband Joshua, 30, and their 18-month-old daughter were rescued from the wreckage and are today fighting for their lives at John Radcliffe Hospital in the city
Pictured are the floral tributes outside the Community Church in High Street Chinnor today
Emergency services rushed to the scene at 9.50pm to reports of the crash, which took place near to a railway overbridge to the west of Oxford.
Neighbour and fellow young mother, Alice Palmer, said today: ‘It was only a few months ago that their house burned down, everything has gone, all of their memories were taken. It was an electrical fire, essentially they got out in their pyjamas and not much else, but they were planning to move back in.
‘Josh is now potentially going to wake up with his young daughter to care for and no possessions or memories. I just cannot comprehend it, they were so religious, part of the community and the church. I have been crying all morning.’
Neighbour Brenda Newell, who lived opposite the family’s home, said: ‘The fire was during lockdown this year, I was just off to work at the time. It looked like it ripped the whole house apart, but I went to work early that morning at a care home in Thame.
‘I don’t think it was arson, it was an accident I believe, you don’t get any trouble like that down here. I used to say hello to the family in passing, they seemed like a lovely family, the kids were quiet. It’s just one of those things, it’s devastating.’
Talented illustrator Mrs Powell – a regular churchgoer – had managed to save some treasured belongings which they had put in their temporary accommodation.
Their home had been particularly important to them as their most recent child had been born there.
Friends today said the Powell family has suffered ‘tragedy after tragedy’ after they were forced to move away from their home in Chinnor following a devastating house fire a few months ago. Pictured: Tributes in Chinnor today
The village where the Powells lived was in deep shock today as news of the tragedy emerged
Mrs Powell, who had been married for ten years, had told followers of the art and cards business she ran alongside her parent’s blog : ‘It’s the littlest things that make a house feel somewhere familiar and ‘yours’.
‘I rescued this butterfly from our study (the door was closed and its largely unaffected by fire/ smoke- unlike the rest of the house).’
The couple had also regularly given to charity and their joint Skylark and Hare company had donated money to good causes every year.
Almost a year ago Mrs Powell had said: ‘There is so much brokenness in this world, so many who we know or know of who are struggling in one way or another but it’s a reminder that this isn’t our true home.
‘And while we walk the darkest paths he is always there beside us and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever, in our forever home. Psalm 23 is the first long chunk of scripture I memorised and it really has been so pertinent in so many ways and so many times in my life. If you’re walking through something I hope it’s a comfort for you .