+the news
Kate Winslet carried Richard Branson's mother from Necker Island blaze

Actress Kate Winslet carried Richard Branson's elderly mother to safety after the tycoon's luxury home on Necker Island burned down around them on Sunday (21Aug11).

The Titanic actress and 20 other guests were staying at the private Caribbean retreat in the British Virgin Islands when lightening hit the wooden property, setting it ablaze.

All guests escaped unharmed, and Richard Branson has paid tribute to brave Winslet after she gathered 90-year-old Eve in her arms and ran from the burning building.

He says, "Many thanks to Kate Winslet. It was she who carried my mother out of the house. She swept her up into her arms and got them out of the house as fast as possible.

"My mum is 90 and can walk but it was more to speed the process up than anything else. But Kate was great."

And Richard Branson revealed that the British Oscar-winner felt like she was on the set of a disaster film when the fire broke out, adding, "She said it was like being in a film set where you're waiting for the words 'Cut' but they just don't come. It was quite surreal for her to be in a real-life situation like that."

The house was completely destroyed by the fire, but billionaire Richard Branson has vowed to rebuild the property in time for his daughter Holly's wedding to Freddie Andrews later this year (11).