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Hadleigh gardener’s van erupts into flames - destroying all his tools

PUBLISHED: 19:00 08 October 2020

The van was completely destroyed by the fire, along with all of his gardening tools. Picture: SEB FRANKLIN

The van was completely destroyed by the fire, along with all of his gardening tools. Picture: SEB FRANKLIN

SEB FRANKLIN

A Hadleigh gardener who lost all his tools when his van caught fire while driving said he is “overwhelmed” by a fundraising page which has already hit £1,000.

Darren Barton's van, which he uses for his gardening business, erupted into flames on a country road in Great Wenham. Picture: SEB FRANKLINDarren Barton's van, which he uses for his gardening business, erupted into flames on a country road in Great Wenham. Picture: SEB FRANKLIN

Darren Barton was driving home from a gardening job on Friday, October 2 when he began to smell burning plastic after turning on his heating.

Minutes later the dashboard erupted into flames and Mr Barton, aged 42, escaped from the vehicle - managing to grab one bag from the passenger side before the whole car caught alight.

Despite the best efforts of the fire service, none of Mr Barton’s tools could be saved and the insurance will not cover his equipment.

“It all happened so quickly,” said Mr Barton, who has been building his business up for the last seven years.

Darren Barton, 42, was travelling home to Hadleigh after working at a gardening job. Picture: SEB FRANKLINDarren Barton, 42, was travelling home to Hadleigh after working at a gardening job. Picture: SEB FRANKLIN

“I was a bit shaken up and in complete shock, but looking back I was lucky.”

Mr Barton called his step-son Seb Franklin, 18, who immediately went to the scene of the fire – which is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault – while breakdown was arranged.

The teenager decided to set up the GoFundMe page a couple of days later, having witnessed first-hand how hard-working his step-dad is.

The page has already raised more than £1,000, which Seb said has moved his step-dad to tears.

Firefighters were called to the country road in Great Wenham, after Darren Barton's van caught alight. Picture: SEB FRANKLINFirefighters were called to the country road in Great Wenham, after Darren Barton's van caught alight. Picture: SEB FRANKLIN

“It’s crazy, we didn’t expect to raise this much, I just thought if he could get a few donations it would help,” said Seb.

“He has worked for the last seven years building his dream business from the ground up and visits people all over East Anglia.”

Mr Barton said the tools inside the vehicle are of a higher value than the van altogether.

He said: “I am overwhelmed by the amount of money people have donated and Seb has been brilliant.

Mr Barton has been a freelance gardener in East Anglia for the last six or seven years. Picture: SEB FRANKLINMr Barton has been a freelance gardener in East Anglia for the last six or seven years. Picture: SEB FRANKLIN

“I am so grateful.”

You can donate to help Darren get back on his feet here.


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