Kate the great

Kate Winslet has been hailed as a hero after saving Richard Branson's mother following a devastating fire on the Virgin boss's private island. The luxury villa spontaneously erupted into flames, having been hit by a lightning bolt. Rather than waiting for her minder to usher her to safety, doughty Kate ran straight towards the flames, carrying Branson's mum out of the fire.

Richard told The Daily Mail, 'Around 20 people were in the house and they all managed to get out and they are all fine. We had a really bad tropical storm with winds up to 90mph. A big lightning storm came around 4am and hit the house. It took hold incredibly quickly, with flames 100ft high. It ripped through the house very quickly. Sam heard explosions in the main house and raised the alarm. He and my nephew Jack rushed to the house and helped get everyone out. Kate Winslet, her boyfriend and her family were there and Holly and some of her friends were also staying.

He continued, 'My mother was there and they managed to get her out and she is fine. The main house is completely destroyed and the fire is not yet completely out. My office was based in the house and I have lost thousands of photographs and my notebooks, which is very sad. But all family and friends are well – which in the end is all that really matters.’

Speaking about Kate Winslet's bravery, Richard said, 'It was she who carried my mother out of the house. She said it was like being on a film set where you’re waiting for the words 'cut' but they just don’t come. So it was quite surreal for her to be in a real-life situation.'

At least we know who will play Kate in the inevitable film version...

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