One year on: The night Holt Budgens burnt down

Fire at Budgens in Holt Picture: Lee Smith

The fire at Budgens in Holt. - Credit: Lee Smith

Holt's Budgens supermarket burned to the ground a year ago on Monday. We look back at the night that shocked a town.

It was a night which shook a north Norfolk town to its core.

Onlookers stared in disbelief as dozens of firefighters worked to douse the inferno on the night of June 20 last year.

Budgens in Holt has gone up in flames Picture: Alan Ely

The fire destroyed Budgens supermarket in Holt. - Credit: Alan Ely

But as the sun rose the following day all that was left of the supermarket which had been a focal point of its community for 35 years was debris and ruin.

Jono Read, from the town, was among the eye-witnesses.

He said at the time: “Black smoke can be seen over the whole of Holt and ash is falling down everywhere.


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“The whole town was out, looking to see what has happened. Everybody is in disbelief."

Budgens in Holt has gone up in flames Photo: Caroline Holland

The fire at Budgens could be seen for miles around. - Credit: Caroline Holland

Also there was Judith Follows, 72, from St Andrews Close, who said: “It started at one end of the building and just so quickly engulfed it."

Luckily, no-one was injured in the blaze, which Norfolk Fire and Rescue investigators later determined was due to an electrical fault

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Budgens' owner, CT Baker, worked to keep its customers - many of whom are elderly - supplied through deliveries from its sister store in Aylsham, and some smaller retailers started offering essential groceries.

Fire at Budgens in Holt Picture: Lee Smith

Police officers on the scene of the fire at Budgens in Holt. - Credit: Lee Smith

Budgens also housed Holt's only Post Office, so a temporary Post Office branch was soon set up inside Bakers and Larners department store, which is also owned by CT Baker. 

An online fundraiser was set up so people could "show their appreciation" to Budgens' staff raised £7,222.

Jane Gurney-Read, CT Baker's managing director, said at the time: “The support from the local community since we lost Budgens of Holt in June has been quite simply incredible.

“Your kindness, generosity and recognition of the team, who had given so much throughout the coronavirus pandemic and for the many years the store has been an integral part of Holt, has been hugely appreciated and will not be forgotten.”

Fire fighters still at work after the massive blaze Saturday evening <20.06.2020> at Budgens of Holt

Emergency services were still on the scene the day after the fire at Budgens of Holt. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

A smaller, temporary branch of Budgens opened next to the former store in Kerridge Way in November, and there are plans to replace the supermarket with a new, permanent structure on the same site as the former building.

Manager Sandra Taylor-Needs, left, with Jane Gurney-Read, CT Baker Group managing director and Nick

Manager Sandra Taylor-Needs, left, with Jane Gurney-Read, CT Baker Group managing director and Nick Baker, director, at the opening of the new, temporary Budgens in Holt in November last year, replacing the building that was destroyed by fire. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

*Did you see the fire, or were you affected by the loss of the supermarket? Email stuart.anderson@archant.co.uk

Fire at Budgens in Holt Picture: Lee Smith

A scene from the fire at Budgens in Holt. - Credit: Lee Smith

A drone captures Budgens of Holt of fire Photo: O Birch

A drone image at the fire at Budgens. - Credit: O Birch

Aerial photos of Budgens in Holt after it was devastated by fire. Pictures: Nick Bryant

An aerial photo of the aftermath at Budgens in Holt. - Credit: Nick Bryant

The old CT Baker Budgens of Holt before it was destroyed by a fire in June 2020. Picture: CT Baker G

The old Budgens of Holt store before it was destroyed by a fire in June 2020. - Credit: CT Baker Group

The Budgens site in Holt on July 18. Picture: Stuart Anderson

The Budgens site in Holt on July 18. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

Fire at Budgens in Holt Picture: Lee Smith

A scene from the night of the fire at Budgens in Holt. - Credit: Lee Smith

Jonathan Wilby, group manager, Norfolk Fire and Rescue, at the remaining shell of Budgens of Holt af

Jonathan Wilby, group manager, Norfolk Fire and Rescue, at the remaining shell of Budgens of Holt after the fire. The fire was found to have been caused by an electrical fault. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020


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