Search

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.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Beccles and Bungay Journal. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Beccles and Bungay Journal