By Frances Leate
MOVING to Spain and building your perfect home is a dream come true for most Brits.
After half a lifetime of working and two heart attacks, Peter Doran, a builder from Blackburn, came out to Mijas and did just that.
He bought a plot of land and believing he had secured a license he built a beautiful three-bedroom home for his wife and daughter.
But ten years later disaster struck, his home in Rio De Las Pasadas was one of hundreds of properties that were burnt to the ground during the Malaga Fires earlier this year.
Mr Doran, 56, said: “We were living the dream for a while. I had suffered two heart attacks and the doctors said the warmer climate would help with my health.
“We put our hearts and souls into our home.”
Peter described a blind panic when the family was told by a neighbour on the night of August 30 that the fire was getting closer to their property.
He said: “We’d been out for the day and when we heard we rushed back. Thank god my daughter was staying with a friend.
“We got the dogs in the back of the van, my wife rushed in the house, grabbed a suitcase full of our documents like passports and birth certificates and that was all we had time to get.
“There was thick smoke, police and fire crews everywhere and cats, dogs and horses just running down the hill away from the fire.
“When we drove away that night, with just the clothes on our back and a suitcase full of paperwork we stopped the car and turned to look and there were just flames everywhere.”
The next day when discovering the remains of their home, which was now just a roof and rubble lying on the ground, Peter decided he wanted to get his property fixed as soon as possible.
But this was when he discovered the license he thought he had purchased to build the home ten years ago was actually just a license to build a wall around the land and paint it white.
For the last three months, while they have been seeking permission from the Spanish authorities to rebuild, he has been sleeping at a friend’s apartment with his wife while their teenage daughter has had to go to live in the UK with a cousin.
He said: “It’s been heartbreaking for the whole family; my girl was settled here.
“She just wants to be back with her friends and her mum and we just want our lives back to how it was before the fire.
“I am ready to start the rebuilding work this minute if I could, but I know I would be risking prison if I did.”