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Relief as pub restaurant re-opens after 'devastating' fire

PUBLISHED: 19:00 30 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:57 01 November 2019

The first lunchtime service was very busy  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The first lunchtime service was very busy Picture: RACHEL EDGE

RACHEL EDGE

A Woodbridge pub re-opened their restaurant today eight weeks after a devastating fire destroyed the kitchen.

The kitchen at the Cherry Tree pub in Woodbridge has reopened  Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe kitchen at the Cherry Tree pub in Woodbridge has reopened Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The restaurant at the Cherry Tree pub in Cumberland Street in Woodbridge suffered smoke and water damage following the early morning electrical fire back in September but has slowly but surely been staging a comeback.

And today they opened their culinary doors for the grand re-opening.

Owners Andy Thompson and James Buckingham spoke of their determination and "relief" at getting their kitchen up and running again having been humbled by all the support they have received from the community.

More: Fire guts pub kitchen in Woodbridge

The Cherry Tree Pub in Woodbridge Picture: SU ANDERSONThe Cherry Tree Pub in Woodbridge Picture: SU ANDERSON

Mr Buckingham said: "We've had massive support, Adnams for example helped. Lots of our suppliers have been really supportive, our butcher has been in two or three times a week even though he hasn't delivered anything, just to see how things are."

Mr Thompson, who lives above the pub with his wife, was alerted by the smoke alarm at 3.45am on September 3.

Alongside co-owner Mr Buckingham and their staff, he has been desperately trying to get the kitchen back in business ever since.

Mr Thompson said: "For us to be shut for eight weeks, we lost a huge amount of trade. It has had a devastating effect."

An electrical fire destroyed much of the kitchen at the Cherry Tree pub in Woodbridge. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGEAn electrical fire destroyed much of the kitchen at the Cherry Tree pub in Woodbridge. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

Mr Buckingham added: "When the whole thing happened, it's a strange thing but it was like a death. Like we were mourning something, you're so lost."

Both sacrificed their own earnings and relied on savings in order to keep all their staff fully employed despite the kitchen and restaurant being out of action.

In a bid to see "the silver lining" within a tough situation, the owners and staff have kept themselves occupied by laying down new flooring, repainting signs and rooms and rejuvenating menus to make something good out of a bad situation.

Neighbours and local businesses, including other pubs, have rallied round in a show of solidarity to get the pub back on its feet with Mr Thompson saying: "It's been really nice to see the support.

The kitchen at the Cherry Tree pub in Woodbridge has reopened  Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe kitchen at the Cherry Tree pub in Woodbridge has reopened Picture: RACHEL EDGE

"And just to get that buzz back again.

"There's no better sound than the murmur of a busy pub.

"I've missed that."

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