A Fishponds charity shop that was devastated by fire just before Christmas has risen from the ashes and reopened thanks to overwhelming community support.
CLIC Sargent launched an urgent fundraising appeal after the blaze resulted in a £36,000 loss and destroyed much of the goods in the Straits Parade store.
The public rallied to support the cancer charity and donations totalling more than £2,500 flooded in, along with offers of help and support from the Fishponds community.
Many of these supporters turned out for the reopening on Thursday and there was jubilation in the air as cancer survivor Mellissa Nunn cut the ribbon on the new store.
Nunn was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2011 and said CLIC helped bring an aspect of normality back in to her life, buying her a laptop so she could continue her A-levels.
Since graduating from university, Nunn has been a regular volunteer in the Fishponds shop. She said: “The help CLIC provided in enabling me to complete my A-levels was such a big thing and it was one thing in my life at the time that I could control.
“The charity shop itself is like a family but what we get from the community is unbelievable.”
Manager Hannah Spawls spoke of her excitement at being back in business after a five month closure.
“It was devastating when it happened but very cloud has a silver lining because we have come back even better and the shop looks amazing,” said Spawls.
“Fishponds is amazing because there is such strong community support. It’s great to know that people are there and they will rally. People have been stopping me in the street and asking what I need.”
Fishponds Road residents Chris and Helen Whitehead were among the supporters who came along for the grand opening and said there is a huge amount of goodwill towards the cause – and the fire stricken shop in particular – among the community.
They said they are just glad to see it back.
Jason Webster, CLIC Sargent’s head of trading, said: “The fire appeal is a great example of real community spirit here in Bristol. It’s fantastic to see how everyone rallied together to support the shop and our charity in our time of need.
“We can’t thank everyone in Bristol enough, it’s brilliant that the shop is open for business again as the donations are vital for us in our fight for young lives in the south west and the UK as a whole.”
Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, added words of support for the charity that first established in the city 40 years ago and said she is delighted to see the shop back up and running.
Read more: Donations needed after charity shop fire