Friends of a woman who ended up homeless after her apartment crumbled as she lay in bed on Saturday are collecting money to help her get back on her feet.

Maggie Smith, 77, had to be rescued by firefighters early in the morning after the Mellieħa apartment block she lived in collapsed without warning. Fortunately, her bedroom at the rear of the block did not give way.

She was taken to Mater Dei Hospital for treatment and is now living with friends until she can get her life back on track. 

The government has pledged to help Ms Smith and other victims of the building collapse, but friends of hers have taken matters into their own hands and are gathering funds to give her a helping hand.

“She’s a friend to all of us and well-known in the community,” Meg Fitzharris told Times of Malta.

“We all care for her a great deal and we just want to help her in whatever way we can”.

Ms Fitzharris, who is a partner at Mellieħa’s Imperial Band Club bar,  said the appeal was already having a positive effect.

“We’ve had strangers walk into the bar and reach into their pockets to help out,” she said. “It’s been very encouraging”.

Ms Fitzharris reckons she will continue collecting money for one week before leaving it with Ms Smith.

“We’ll give her whatever we manage to cobble together and leave it in her good hands,” she said. “She’s lost a lot. We can't make up for what happened to her, but at least we can help”.

To donate to the fundraiser for Ms Smith, contact Ms Fitzharris through the Imperial Band Club bar Facebook page.