One year on: The night Holt Budgens burnt down
- 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.
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.
“The whole town was out, looking to see what has happened. Everybody is in disbelief."
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.
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.”
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.
*Did you see the fire, or were you affected by the loss of the supermarket? Email firstname.lastname@example.org