Dereham fire update: Charity’s heartfelt plea

The aftermath of the fire at the PACT Animal Sanctuary Charity Shop on Norwich Street in Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher. The aftermath of the fire at the PACT Animal Sanctuary Charity Shop on Norwich Street in Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Friday, December 7, 2012
3:31 PM

Pact animal sanctuary has urged as many people as possible to show support in the coming weeks as it begins to recover from a blaze which gutted one of its charity shops.

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More than 60 firefighters fought against flames which engulfed the building on Norwich Street, Dereham, and destroyed around £10,000 worth of uninsured stock.

Around £2,000 worth of equipment for a new store due to open in Fakenham in the new year was also ruined, as well as collection boxes, designer clothes and Christmas items.

Manager Soraya Parnell, who took over in August, said the Dereham shop had taken a record amount of money - £1,800 - in the last week and took on average £1,500 a week.

“People have brought stuff in to us to raise money for the animals and this is going to hit the sanctuary hard - it was one of the best shops we’ve got,” she said.

“We need people’s help now more than ever and if they can support us by using the other shops or donating then please do. We can collect items of furniture and everything they can do to help with donations to the animal sanctuary goes a long way.

“We’ve got so many people who come in and support us and if they don’t buy anything they put money in the tin - it’s really disappointing this has happened at this time of year, with Christmas coming up.”

A large amount of stock was kept in storage at the shop ready for the new season which has all been destroyed, as well as a saddle which had recently been donated, pet bowls which Ms Parnell spent time wrapping to sell as Christmas gifts, electrical items, which had all been inspected for safety on Monday and raffle stock.

“It’s not a particularly good building anyway,” she added. “There were holes in the ceiling and there was no heating or hot water. We had plug in heaters and fan heaters but being a bit obsessive compulsive I know I turned them off.

“I loved working there and people can go to the sanctuary and see the animals and you can what we’re working to help. It’s a local charity and it’s just disappointing we won’t be raising any money this week or for a few weeks.”

Co-founder George Rockingham said the charity, based in Woodrising, near Hingham, had planned to move premises when its current lease ran out in June to the former Birds clothing shop, also on Norwich Street.

He said is was all hands on deck now to get it up and running as soon as possible.

“Takings in our shops have gone up by about 25pc so that’s why we’ve been a able to stick our necks out a bit,” he said. “Now we’ve got to get our shops up and running [in Dereham and Fakenham] and get the money back.”

Anyone who can help Pact can ring 01362 820775.

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