A fundraiser has been set up in memory of a much-loved counsellor who died in a house explosion in Bury.

Hazel Wilcock was at her home in Summerseat when tragedy struck on February 18.

The 61-year-old had been on FaceTime to her boyfriend when her house collapsed at around 9.20pm.

The huge blast reduced her East View home to rubble, leaving nothing but a roof beam amid the wreckage.

Tragically, Ms Wilcock was pronounced dead at the scene.

A fundraiser in her memory has since been set up online.

Raising funds for St Ann’s Hospice, where Ms Wilcock worked as a senior counsellor, it pays tribute to a “bundle of energy and life” who “touched so many people”.

So far, it has raised almost £400 of its £500 target.

Jemma Major, who set up the fundraiser, broke down in tears as she remembered her close family friend.

The scene of devastation left in the wake of the explosion

“She was caring, loving – just always there to help people. That’s what she was all about,” she told the Manchester Evening News .

“We only live up the road. It was completely disbelief.

“We were hoping she would still be alive. You heard of people who get buried under buildings in earthquakes. She was like one of the family.”

Ms Wilcock was born in Radcliffe and dedicated her life to caring for others.

Prior to her work at St Ann’s Hospice, she worked as a social worker with deaf people in Blackburn.

Eventually, she became a director of Sign Health, where she created national access to counselling services for deaf people.

The revolutionary work made it easier for deaf people to access mental health services.

Jemma, 39, of Summerseat, continued: “(The fundraiser) is to have a legacy for Hazel because she worked at St Ann’s Hospice and it’s something that was so close to her heart.

A police cordon remained in place all day
A police cordon remained in place all day

“If we can raise money in her memory, she would really like that.

“Everyone has been so supportive. We’re completely shocked but we all rallied around.”

The fundraiser, which can be found by clicking here, reads: “Hazel was truly one of a kind. She was an adventurer, a shoulder to cry on, always had time for people in need and was a bundle of energy and life.

“The centre of so many people's lives, her tragic death is a huge loss for everyone who knew and loved her. Hazel was the most caring and inspirational person and touched so many people.

“She had so many plans and they have now been cruelly taken away.

“If we can salvage one thing from this tragedy it will be to raise money in her memory for a charity so close to her heart.”

An inquest into Ms Wilcock’s death was opened at Rochdale Coroner's Court on March 2.

Police coroner's officer, Jane Scullion, told the court: "Hazel was at her home address and was having a FaceTime call with her partner when an explosion took place, causing the phone to disconnect and cut off.

"All emergency services attended the scene.

"Ms Wilcock's property was completely destroyed and there was damage to two neighbouring properties.

"Ms Wilcock was in a seating position, on the sofa, at the time of the FaceTime call."

Ms Scullion said that the fire service have gathered no evidence of 'suspicious activity'.

Other investigations are still taking place.

The provisional cause of death has been recorded as 'traumatic asphyxia', according to Ms Scullion.

Assistant coroner Michael Salt said that an inquest is 'inevitably needed'.

A date is yet to be fixed for the full inquest but Mr Salt said that the file will be reviewed on May 24.