Bamber Bridge community spirit hailed after nursery fire
Residents and businesses across Bamber Bridge have been offering help to get a fire-damaged children's nursery back on its feet.
Firefighters were called to a blaze at Busy Bees nursery in School Lane at around 1.30pm yesterday, which has badly damaged the roof space.
All of the children and staff were safely evacuated from the building, with youngsters temporarily accommodated in local houses, an Italian restaurant and at another nearby nursery school.
>>>Click here for more information on the fire.
Now locals are determined to do what they can to help get the nursery back open, and to thank the staff.
Posting on the Be Proud To Be A Brigger Facebook page, Milly and Bloom Photography said: "In light of what has happened at Busy Bees nursery and all the little cherubs who are going to miss graduation pics, I am offering them free of charge (use of) the studio, gown and hat provided."
Sophie Danson said: "Hi all, going into Morrisons today and setting up collection buckets so we can get some money together."
Lilac Tree Interiors of Walton-le-Dale posted: "As a local business in Walton-le-Dale, we were saddened to hear and see the devastating fire that destroyed part of Busy Bees - we would like to donate these wooden toys from our gift shop and hope it helps. Well done to everyone involved in getting the children out safely, and to the emergency services too."
Other people have suggested setting up a Go Fund Me page, and bosses at Dowry House Nursery have offered to replenish any resources needed when Busy Bees is back up and running.
Josh Platt, who has a son at Busy Bees, has also offered help.
He said: "I can't thank the team enough for getting my son out safely. Its not much but if anyone from there is reading this I can offer my trade. I'm a carpet fitter and if you need new carpets I can sort you out no problem."
Vito Bruno, owner of Il Gusto d'Italia restuarant opposite the nursery in School Lane, provided shelter and icecreams to the staff and children while the fire was being tackled.
He said: "It was quite a shock to see the smoke and we were worried.
"When we saw the kids outside, we told them to come in. I have kids and it wasn't nice to see them so upset and without shelter. So we gave the kids and the staff ice cream, somewhere to sit, and use of the toilets.
"It really wasn't anything anyone else wouldn't have done. It was the right thing to do."
Staff at nearby Footprints nursery in Brindle Road also leapt into action when they saw smoke coming from Busy Bees.
A spokesman for Footprints said: "We're about 200 yards away and as soon as we saw smoke, we had staff members heading out there to offer help.
"We were taking prams over to help transport the children, and took quite a few of the babies and toddler back to our premises where they could be safe and play.
"It was all hands on deck, but with everyone working together, we got through it, and the staff at Busy Bees did a great job.
"They're our competitors, but it's a tight-knit community here in terms of early years, and we know that they would have done it for us, if the same thing happened.
"We're all here for the children at the end of the day."
Busy Bees have not given an update on how badly damaged the building is, what caused the fire or how long the nursery is likely to be closed.
There have been messages of thanks left on social media by Busy Bees staff.
One member of staff said: "Hi everyone on behalf of everyone at Busy Bees Bamber Bridge I just want to say a huge massive thank you to absolutely everybody who went above and beyond to help our staff team get all our children and staff to safety - there really are far too many to mention but please believe we appreciate you all dearly.
"It's been a heartbreaking day for us all but the community spirit have shone through and we cannot thank you all enough.
"Vicky Jackson you are the most incredible manager and we are all here with you.
"We'll be back."