Mick Philpott with 11 of his 17 children
Mick Philpott with 11 of his 17 children Reuters

Around 1,600 people will link arms to form a human chain in Derby to raise funds for the Philpott family after six of their children died in an arson attack on their family home.

The fundraising event, to be held on 5 June, will see neighbours and residents create a line from the Philpott residence on Victory Road in Allenton to a nearby park.

Anthony Slater, who helped set up a fund for the grieving family, said all money will go toward the funerals of the children who died.

He said: "They're completely overwhelmed by it all. They said the community was helping to take some of the pain away."

Jade Philpott, 10, and her brothers Duwayne, 13, John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, all died when the fire started in the early hours of Friday morning.

Local residents have also planned a charity car wash, an auction and a fun day.

Elsewhere, outrage was sparked around the country after former News of the World columnist and Big Brother housemate Carol Malone dubbed the fire "an accident waiting to happen".

Responding to the comment, an ITV spokesman said in a statement: "The views expressed in the This Morning newspaper review on Monday were those of Carol Malone and not shared by ITV or This Morning.

"Our thoughts are with the family and all those affected by this tragedy at this difficult time."

Police confirmed the fire was deliberately set after it was found that petrol and accelerants were poured through the letter box of the family home.

A 28-year-old woman and a 38-year-old man were arrested and released without charge last week.

Appealing for witnesses, Steve Cotterill, assistant chief constable of Derbyshire Police, said: "I would ask people to continue helping us with our investigation by checking the area they live for signs of discarded containers which may have contained petrol.

"I am also appealing for forecourt staff to come forward if they can recall selling petrol in a container to anyone in the days leading up to the fire."