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Sawbridgeworth Christmas decorations went up in flames in Oakridge Nursery blaze

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The fire raging at Oakridge Nursery
The fire raging at Oakridge Nursery

Festive decorations including Santa Claus and the plunger used for turning on Sawbridgeworth's lights were destroyed in a fire – but the town council has vowed that it will not destroy Christmas.

The equipment was being stored in a wooden building that the town council rents from the owner of Oakridge Nursery in Redricks Lane. Along with the decorations, some events equipment and lawnmowers also went up in flames on July 5.

“A lot of events stuff has been stored there over the years,” said town clerk Richard Bowran. “I’ve spent the last week making sure that all the events we have scheduled can go ahead – and of course that includes the Christmas lights.”

A large-scale blaze was reported at the Redricks Lane garden centre on the outskirts of Sawbridgeworth on the afternoon of Friday July 5. The cause of the fire was accidental.

Six crews from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service spent four hours bringing it under control.

Nobody was hurt, and the garden centre was open for business as usual the next day.

The town council was not so lucky. While the damage is being assessed by a loss adjuster, Mr Bowran estimates it is “very roughly” around £40,000.

At an extraordinary meeting of the finance committee on Monday (July 15), town councillors gave him authority to replenish stock. In the meantime, councils in Ware and Hertford have offered to lend lawnmowers and other equipment.

The town’s next major event is Fun on the Field, scheduled for August 31. Fortunately the stage and 12 gazebos were on loan to Leventhorpe School for its sporting and music festival, Levfest.

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