Friends of a couple who lost their house and all their belongings in a large fire in Canterbury have taken to crowdfunding website Givealittle to try and add some cheer to the family's Christmas.

Daryl and Salve Cross, from Rolleston, lost everything in a matter of minutes after a fire fuelled by blustery winds and tinder-dry grass burnt down the couple's home on Saturday.

Several homes were destroyed and others forced to evacuate after the blaze took hold on Knights Rd in Rolleston around 3pm and spread across 1600 square metres.

During the incident emergency services asked people to stay away from the area, while residents gathered at the local Community Centre.


Helicopters with monsoon buckets were attacking the fire until night fell, while crews returned again on Sunday morning to dampen hotspots.

Family friend Mary Berryman, from Nelson, was devastated by the news and decided to create a Givealittle page in order to help the couple rebuild their lives.

"I felt like at this time of year it was just so incredibly sad so I thought I would start something," Berryman told the Herald.

"The couple have been left with nothing but the clothes on their back.

"As family friends, we cannot imagine how heartbreaking it would be to not only lose all of your possessions, but also a lifetime of memories," the Givealittle page read.

Berryman said the couple, aged in their 50s, lived on a lifestyle property with a large American style barn.

"They also lost their vehicle and workshop, containing a large collection of valuable engineering equipment accumulated over a lifetime," the page read.

"They are a really hard working couple but now they don't even have clothes or anything," Berryman said.

"Luckily they walked away with their lives but they didn't save any possessions."

The Cross' are now staying with Berryman's brother and his wife, who recently moved into a new home in Rolleston.

Berryman said she started the Givealittle page in order to bring the attention back to all those affected by the tragic incident.

"It is not just this couple, there are several houses there, and they obviously all need help.

"They probably need us to all think about them and if we can all help in some way that would be great."

Any donations for Daryl and Salve Cross can be made here.