Site of Great Yarmouth blaze cleared as businesses benefit from appeal

The site of the fire at the Regent Road Bowling Centre, Yarmouth, which has now been cleared. Pictur

The site of the fire at the Regent Road Bowling Centre, Yarmouth, which has now been cleared. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Archant

Readers have transformed their shock into generosity, as Great Yarmouth looks to rebuild itself after the fire that shook the town to its very core.

Ele Rodgers and Richard Marks, co-owners of Woodcraft Gifts in their new shop in Victoria Arcade.

Ele Rodgers and Richard Marks, co-owners of Woodcraft Gifts in their new shop in Victoria Arcade. - Credit: David Hannant

In the peak of summer trading, fire tore through the indoor market on Regent Road.

Dozens of stalls were destroyed – many of which were not insured – leaving owners fearing for the future of their businesses and their livelihoods. However, since that devastating Friday – August 5 – people have rallied round with cash donations and the town is bouncing back. So far, £18,894 has been raised by an appeal launched by the EDP, its sister papers the Great Yarmouth Mercury, and Norwich Evening News and Norfolk Community Foundation. Businesses are already feeling the benefit of these efforts and so far 20 stall owners have each received £500 to help them. One such business is Woodcraft Gifts – a joint project run by Richard Marks and Ele Rodgers – which has since reopened in a new location inside Victoria Arcade. Mr Marks said the money had gone towards replenishing stock and equipping the new shop with worktops and machinery. The shop is now preparing for its first ever Christmas period.Mr Marks said: 'We were originally just a summer business. However this year we are going to stay open to make up for the loss of time. We never normally would have considered Christmas trade.'The couple had been based on Regent Road since 1992, but are settling well into the Victoria Arcade. Mr Marks added: 'We had a big customer base in Regent Road, as people like having something made specifically for them, but I think the new location is a really nice environment to work in too.' Ms Rodgers said: 'The fire was almost like a bereavement – like a death in the family.'

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