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Santa’s grotto is being rebuilt after blaze at Notcutts garden centre

Fire crews at the scene of the marquee fire at notcutts in Woodbridge. Picture: TERESA GOODCHILD

Fire crews at the scene of the marquee fire at notcutts in Woodbridge. Picture: TERESA GOODCHILD

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Father Christmas is having a new home built following a blaze at his grotto at Notcutts garden centre in Woodbridge.

The fire at the Santa's grotto marquee at Notcutts in Woodbridge. Picture: MARK LING The fire at the Santa's grotto marquee at Notcutts in Woodbridge. Picture: MARK LING

The company has confirmed that all ‘Santa experiences’, where children can meet him face-to-face over breakfast or tea, will go ahead as planned following the fire on Sunday afternoon.

Notcutts chiefs said his grotto would be closed until further notice, although staff were working hard to rebuild it.

Firefighters were called to the scene in Ipswich Road at around 3.30pm on Sunday, December 3.

Flames and smoke were seen billowing from a marquee where Santa’s grotto was located.

A spokeswoman from Notcutts confirmed that no one had been injured as a result of the fire.

She said: “On Sunday 3rd December, there was a fire in the Christmas grotto.

“Fire crews were on site quickly and no customers or colleagues were injured during the incident.

“The centre manager and colleagues were quick to follow safety protocol at the time of the incident and everyone was evacuated swiftly and safely.

“We are currently undertaking a thorough investigation.”

Two fire engines, from Woodbridge and Ipswich East station, were sent to the scene.

Paramedics from the East of England Ambulance service were also sent to the garden centre, although they were not required to treat anyone.

Eyewitnesses reported that the smoke could be seen as far as the Thoroughfare in Woodbridge, where the town’s big annual Christmas street fare was taking place.

The Notcutts spokeswoman added that staff were working hard to build a new home for Santa and his elves in the garden centre.

“The main garden centre and restaurant are open as usual today,” she said.

“We would like to thank emergency services for their quick response and customers for their cooperation while we dealt with this incident.”

The circumstances surrounding the cause of the fire are still unknown.

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said a full investigation into what happened was under way.

Anyone who needs a refund on grotto tickets has been advised to call Notcutts on 0344 879 4166.

Alternatively email customercare@notcutts.co.uk

A number of schools have already announced plans to close across Suffolk and north Essex this morning after snowy weather hit the region.

Snow lovers will be delighted to hear that Suffolk and Essex could be getting a second flurry of the white stuff later today.

The parents of a six-year-old boy, who died from Meningitis B, are campaigning for a vaccination programme to be rolled out to all children.

Motorists are being warned of disruption on the region’s roads this morning as snow turns into ice following a weekend wintry blast.

Kesgrave High School will be closed today after a major power failure.

Multi-platinum selling artist Craig David has been announced as the first act for next year’s Newmarket Nights.

Residents will be asked for their views on a potential merger between the district councils of Babergh and Mid Suffolk.

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