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Crowdfunder launched as community rallies to support fire-hit businesses

PUBLISHED: 12:47 07 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:47 07 February 2020

Firefighters at the fire in Watton's High Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Firefighters at the fire in Watton's High Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Beijing Diner, a Chinese restaurant on Watton High Street, went up in flames at on Thursday, February 6 after a fire reportedly broke out in the kitchen.

Fire fighters at the fire in Watton's High Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFire fighters at the fire in Watton's High Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The fire spread throughout the roof and damaged three businesses inside the building, including the recently refurbished Cookie's Café and Casino Games.

In response to the devastating blaze a GoFundMe page has been set up for people to donate towards helping those affected.

Footage captured by Sinclair Maynard shows the extent of the fire in Watton High Street. Picture: Sinclair MaynardFootage captured by Sinclair Maynard shows the extent of the fire in Watton High Street. Picture: Sinclair Maynard

MORE: Owner says 'life's work' has been destroyed in high street blaze



Organiser Claire Boothby-Barnbrook, 38, a mum-of-two who lives in Watton, said it came in response to reactions to the fire on social media.

Dennis Brooks, 68, has owned the building of Beijing Diner since 1992. Picture: Marc BettsDennis Brooks, 68, has owned the building of Beijing Diner since 1992. Picture: Marc Betts

"There were lots of people expressing concerns, but no-one seemed to be really sure what they could do to help, so I thought this would be a practical thing," she said.

"I thought I want to do sometime positive and crowdfunding is often something that people do these days as a quick, responsive way for people to get involved, but not in a way that is unhelpful."

Police at the fire in Watton's High Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPolice at the fire in Watton's High Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The appeal has raised almost £500 in fewer than 24 hours.

MORE: Witnesses tell of blaze at Chinese restaurant in town high street



It states: "I don't expect this money to take the place of sentimental things lost or to replace insurance funds. But it is a way for us as a community to come together and show our solidarity with our neighbours, alongside other efforts we have seen, such as donations of clothing and free food for the emergency services at the scene.

"I know there is a lot of community spirit in Watton and this is just one of the ways we will rally round at a time of need."

Mrs Boothby-Barnbrook added: "Small businesses like this are really important to a town like Watton. Everyone uses the high street so we will feel a real loss while they are recovering.

"I don't expect this will be a huge amount for those businesses, but it is more a gesture that the community are behind them and supporting them."

MORE: Drone photos reveal scale of major high street blaze



Donations can be made at the Watton fire Gofundme appeal.

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