Destroyed garden centre rises from the ashes
Back in business week after blaze
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