De­stroyed gar­den cen­tre rises from the ashes

Back in busi­ness week after blaze

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Goolis­tan Cooper goolis­tan.cooper@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

LESS than a week after it was de­stroyed by rag­ing flames, Ansell Gar­den Cen­tre is open for busi­ness.

It opened doors on Novem­ber 25 to clear stock and will start and started sell­ing Christ­mas trees on Mon­day, Novem­ber 28.

The news has been wel­comed by loyal cus­tomers, who are ea­ger to re­turn to their favourite gar­den cen­tre.

It was gut­ted on Sun­day Novem­ber 18 when a huge fire broke out at 4.30pm. It took around 100 fire­fight­ers more than five hours to bring the flames under con­trol, with huge plumes of smoke seen in the sky from miles around.

The task for fire­fight­ers was made harder be­cause cylin­ders and fire­works stored at Ansell were at risk of ex­plod­ing, prompt­ing fire crews to im­pose a 300 me­tre cor­don.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards, the own­ers of the West Dray­ton gar­den cen­tre spoke of their loss on Twit­ter.

They said: “Heart bro­ken see­ing 14 years of blood, sweat and guts go up in smoke. Thank you for all the mes­sages”

Another said: “Thanks for all your kind word and mes­sages across so­cial me­dia. Just so sur­real, know it’s ma­te­rial but word can’t ex­plain the loss.”

How­ever, within days the first clues that the gar­den cen­tre would be back started to ap­pear.

Re­ply­ing to a well­wisher’s mes­sage on Twit­ter, it said: “Just sat at the din­ner ta­ble with the fam­ily de­cid­ing how we can make it even bet­ter.”

And on Thurs­day Novem­ber 24 it posted an inspirational mes­sage which showed poppy gar­den or­na­ment un­scathed in front of the wreckage left by the huge fire, with the words “sym­bol of hope from the ashes”.

But in later tweet it sug­gested that plan­ning could al­ready be under way to re­build a “bet­ter” gar­den cen­tre.

The tweet was sent by Ansell in re­ply to one of the many mes­sages of good wishes it has been in­un­dated with since Sun­day.

Now, the gar­den cen­tre has writ­ten: “Please let as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble know.

“We will be open from 10.30am to­day and are clear­ing stock.

“Will be nice to see friendly faces.”

Writ­ing on its Face­book page, the gar­den cen­tre, based in Hol­loway Lane, paid trib­ute to all those who had helped over a tu­mul­tuous few days.

It read: “We have been touched by all the kind words and sup­port that you all have of­fered, from our fam­ily, friends, cus­tomers, sup­pli­ers, res­i­dents and our staff both new and old who have be­come part of our fam­ily. Thank you.

“Thank you to the fire­fight­ers and the po­lice con­tinue to pro­vide all their sup­port and mon­i­tor the gar­den cen­tre (or what’s left of it) to en­sure the safety of the lo­cal res­i­dents.

“You all have given us the courage to move for­ward.

“We will hope­fully see your smiles in the very near fu­ture and will keep you up­dated as much as we can so please keep in tune with our Face­book page.

“With some hope, we stay strong, we fight, we move for­ward,”

It is signed by: “Ansell Gar­den Cen­tre & the fam­ily”

Fes­tive trees will be sold up un­til Christ­mas.

HOPE: The un­dam­aged poppy in the rub­ble of the fire. In­set above a photo of the fire from @Eclec­tic_Healin

IN­FERNO: The blaze at Ansell Gar­den Cen­tre

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