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Halesworth business fights back after devastating fire

PUBLISHED: 06:30 13 August 2018

David Patrick outside his newsagents which was destroyed in the fire. Photo: Ella Wilkinson.

David Patrick outside his newsagents which was destroyed in the fire. Photo: Ella Wilkinson.

Archant

A newsagent has described the horror that overcame him as he watched his business collapse in a devastating fire.

Halesworth’s DC Patrick Newsagents was left in ruins after a blaze ripped through its Market Place premises in June.

David Patrick, 60, set up the business 35 years ago and spoke of the unforgettable night.

He said: “I watched my life go up in smoke right in front of me and there was nothing I could do.

The aftermath of the fire. Picture: Nick ButcherThe aftermath of the fire. Picture: Nick Butcher

“I didn’t feel angry or upset – I just felt numb. I stood watching and it didn’t feel real.

“Within 40 minutes it had broken through the roof. I didn’t know what to say or what to do.

“I’ve been here 35 years – it’s my base, it’s my home.”

The aftermath of the fire. Picture: Nick ButcherThe aftermath of the fire. Picture: Nick Butcher

The fire, which started in the flat above the newsagents, destroyed almost everything in 
its path.

Mr Patrick, who was a reserve firefighter in the town for 27 years, added: “I lost everything apart from two computers and a parrot.”

And while the task of rebuilding is a daunting one – with repairs estimated to exceed £1m and take two years to complete – Mr Patrick does not have to face it alone.

The aftermath of the fire. Picture: Nick ButcherThe aftermath of the fire. Picture: Nick Butcher

Residents and fellow business owners have rallied around the newsagent in his time of need.

He said: “I built it from nothing and it feels like someone tried to snatch it away – but I’m not going to let that happen.”

The shop, which delivers around 3,000 papers a day, has been rehomed in the nearby van Dijk Accountants in the Thoroughfare – with Ed the Parrot now taking up a new position outside the store front.

Mr Patrick said: “He loves it outside the shop. He’s like the pied piper you can hear him everywhere you go.

“The fire has brought a real Halesworth spirit out. You take it for granted until something like this happens.

“I’ve had people come up to me crying – you couldn’t walk up the Thoroughfare without people stopping you and wanting to give you a hug.

“It’s humbling when you get people you don’t really know wishing you well.”

As a sign of thanks Mr Patrick is planning to host a street party when the shop reopens – he added: “Thank you so much to everyone for your continued support.”

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