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Open garden event cancelled after devastating thatched cottage blaze

PUBLISHED: 16:05 02 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:25 02 August 2018

Flames swept across the thatched roof at Yeoman's Cottage in Rockland All Saints. Picture: Karen Roseberry

Flames swept across the thatched roof at Yeoman's Cottage in Rockland All Saints. Picture: Karen Roseberry

Archant

A village open garden event has had to be cancelled as the organisers cope with the aftermath of a devastating fire that ripped through their Grade II listed thatched cottage.

Paul Rutter and Karen Roseberry at their burnt out thatched cottage at Rockland All Saints. Picture: Denise BradleyPaul Rutter and Karen Roseberry at their burnt out thatched cottage at Rockland All Saints. Picture: Denise Bradley

Rocklands Garden Gadabout, a popular event that sees villagers in Rockland All Saints and Rockland St Peters, near Attleborough, throw open their gardens to visitors, had been due to take place on August 12.

The centre-piece of the annual event is usually the grounds of Yeoman’s Cottage in Rockland All Saints but the historic building which dates back to the 1630s was gutted by a blaze that swept through the building on June 24.

A temporary metal roof has been put on Yeoman's Cottage at Rockland All Saints. Picture: Karen RoseberryA temporary metal roof has been put on Yeoman's Cottage at Rockland All Saints. Picture: Karen Roseberry

Homeowners Paul Rutter and Karen Roseberry could only watch on helplessly and hope flames would not spread to the thatched roof.

More than 70 firefighters spent several hours tackling a blaze which eventually engulfed the roof of the pink cottage leaving it partially destroyed.

More than 70 firefighters tackled the blaze at Yeoman's Cottage in Rockland All Saints. Picture: Karen RoseberryMore than 70 firefighters tackled the blaze at Yeoman's Cottage in Rockland All Saints. Picture: Karen Roseberry

The fire came a year after the cottage was featured in EDP Norfolk magazine and the couple, who were uninsured at the time of the blaze, had hoped to open the gardens as normal. But they have been left dealing with the aftermath, clearing 40-tonnes of charred debris with the help of local volunteers and overseeing the construction of a temporary metal roof.

It has meant they have been forced to cancel the community open gardens event that coincides with the Little Ellingham Vintage Working show in the next village and raises proceeds for the upkeep of two ancient churches and the village playground.

Fitting a temporary metal roof at Yeoman's Cottage in Rockland All Saints. Picture: Karen RoseberryFitting a temporary metal roof at Yeoman's Cottage in Rockland All Saints. Picture: Karen Roseberry

Ms Roseberry said: “The Garden Gadabout has been cancelled. I guess it was always questionable but we’ve had to put all our energies into clearing up and constructing a temporary roof and so have not even got around to removing the Herris fencing yet.

“Part of the garden has therefore been inaccessible and looking the worse for it. Of course the hottest summer ever has compounded the ‘scorched’ affect in the garden and not done much for my fellow gardeners either. We hope to try for next year.”

The couple, who have lived the cottage since 2002, say they have overwhelmed by the support they have received from villagers and have raised money for local retained fire crews at a charity event that saw them dress as firefighters.

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