Owner hos­pi­talised af­ter £500,000 fleet of wed­ding clas­sics de­stroyed

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Front Page -

Melvin Dolby, from Thor­ney in Cam­bridgeshire, has suf­fered from a heart at­tack through the ef­fects of smoke in­hala­tion af­ter a se­ri­ous fire wrecked his home and clas­sic wed­ding hire car busi­ness, worth in ex­cess of £500,000.

Melvin built up Clas­sic Wed­ding Cars Peter­bor­ough with his wife Sue, and a 10-car col­lec­tion, which in­cluded a 1930 Beau­ford, a 1937 Stude­baker, a 1950 Bent­ley and a Rolls-Royce Sil­ver Cloud.

The cars, garage, and the Dol­bys’ ad­ja­cent house were burnt to the ground in the fire that was whipped up by the ef­fects of Storm Imo­gen as it moved east­wards across the coun­try.

An en­tire fleet of clas­sic wed­ding cars was wiped out when fire dev­as­tated a Peter­bor­ough, Cam­bridgeshire, fam­ily’s busi­ness on 8 Fe­bru­ary.

Clas­sic car en­thu­si­ast Melvin Dolby, who had built up the Clas­sic Wed­ding Cars Peter­bor­ough busi­ness with his wife Sue, was taken to hos­pi­tal with a sus­pected heart at­tack and suf­fer­ing from the ef­fects of smoke in­hala­tion fol­low­ing the fire.

Ten cars in­clud­ing a 1937 Stude­baker, 1950 Bent­ley and a 1962 Rolls-Royce Sil­ver Cloud, worth a to­tal of about £500,000 were de­stroyed at the fire near Thor­ney, Cam­bridgeshire. The cars, garage, and the Dolby’s ad­ja­cent house was ru­ined in the blaze that was whipped up by the ef­fects of Storm Imo­gen as it moved east­wards.

Cam­bridgeshire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice re­ported that the fire was an ac­ci­dent that had started in the garage and quickly spread through­out the large build­ing and to the house ow­ing to the strong winds and a fuel tank be­came in­volved in the fire. About 60 fire fight­ers helped to tackle the blaze and the ad­ja­cent A47 road had to be closed while the fire was brought un­der con­trol. The call about the fire came in at just af­ter 6pm and the in­ci­dent was scaled down af­ter 11pm.

‘This was a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult fire to tackle, as it was ex­ac­er­bated by strong winds, cylin­ders in the garage and the need for a large wa­ter sup­ply,’ says group com­man­der Sean Brown. ‘Sadly the fire has com­pletely de­stroyed the garage, its con­tents and the ad­join­ing house.’

David Glyn Jones, chair­man of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Wed­ding Car Pro­fes­sion­als, says: ‘I think I speak on be­half of the whole in­dus­try in send­ing our sin­cere con­do­lences to the Dol­bys. Los­ing your cher­ished and much loved cars is to me like los­ing a child, in this case it seems like a whole fam­ily.’

Clas­sic car owner Robert El­liot of Thor­ney passes the premises ev­ery day on his way to and from work and saw the fire on the Mon­day night. ‘I’d see Mr Dolby pre­par­ing his cars for wed­dings quite of­ten,’ he says. ‘It’s so sad they’ve been de­stroyed. He’s a lovely chap.’

The Dol­bys’ 2007 Bes­sacar Cameo car­a­van was pulled away from the fire but in a sad twist to the tragedy, this was stolen from the prop­erty at Way­side, The Cause­way, Thor­ney, Cambs PE6 0QH on the Thurs­day evening fol­low­ing the blaze while the fam­ily was vis­it­ing Mr Dolby in hos­pi­tal. Po­lice are ap­peal­ing to trace the driv­ers of two Ford Tran­sit-style vans – one de­scribed as be­ing blue and the other de­scribed as be­ing white – seen in the area at the time.

If you were driv­ing a van near the scene, or have any in­for­ma­tion about the theft, please con­tact Cam­bridgeshire po­lice on 101, or Crimestop­pers, anony­mously, on 0800 555 111.

The fire was said to have started in an ad­ja­cent garage.

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