Boss of Whittlesey furniture factory gutted by fire vows to be back in business soon

FACTORY boss Peter Bradshaw watched 35 years of hard work and expertise go up in flames and then vowed his business would be up and running again within weeks.

Just 48 hours after fire swept through Fenland Furniture in Benwick Road, Whittlesey, Mr Bradshaw said: “I was devastated when it happened but at 7 o clock on Wednesday morning I said ‘I’m back’.

“There is 35 years of my life here and I am not going to give up. I have had so many offers of help and we will be back in some form shortly. I will have to rebuild the machines myself but we will be back on this site. Everyone has been tremendous in the help they have offered.”

The 74-year-old engineer spoke as he accompanied fire investigators around the charred remains of the factory where his workers had the honour of making furniture for the late Pope John Paul and for many celebrity occasions.

Nine crews tackled the blaze after the alarm was raised around 5.30pm on Monday. The last of the nine employees had already left.

First on the scene was factory manager Jim Neacy who had been alerted to the alarm through his mobile phone. He said: “I cannot praise the fire service, the police and all the people who live nearby enough. They were so kind and treated us with respect, keeping us informed the whole time.”

Mr Neacy who has worked at the factory for 27 years, said: “We are very determined to get up and running again as soon as possible, it is the Fen determination. We have been offered a unit here in Whittlesey and everyone is supporting us. The suppliers are backing us all the way.

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“I think the shock is now coming out and I am still shaking but basically we will be like the phoenix rising from the fire.”

The company manufactures mainly office furniture but also specialises in furniture for the Restricted Growth Association.

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