Community rallies after fire hits farm

The remains of the barn that was set on fire at Gloucester Lodge Farm in Blyth.
The remains of the barn that was set on fire at Gloucester Lodge Farm in Blyth.

FARMERS have rallied round to ensure a charity event in Blyth goes ahead this weekend after a barn full of horse riding equipment was destroyed in a major fire.

The blaze broke out at the Gloucester Lodge Farm in Links Road on Monday afternoon, causing up to £100,000 worth of damage.

The family who organised ‘The Summer Show’, which is set to take place on the field opposite the farm on Sunday in aid of Metro Radio Cash For Kids, thought they would have to cancel after their equestrian equipment was destroyed.

But local farmers have now offered to help save the annual event by donating show jumping poles and fences.

Other equipment lost in the fire included four horse trailers and a bailer.

Rebecca Hartley, 21, who lives on the farm with her stepdad Ian Thompson and mum Anne, arrived home from work at around 4.30pm to find the barn in flames and their horses being led across the road.

She said: “I was in a panic, it was chaos.

“The whole barn was on fire, it was horrible.

“It’s not just about the money, people or our animals could have been hurt, or worse.

“Someone said they saw a person go into the barn and run out, then the place just went up in flames.

“I can’t believe someone would do this. It’s not just our business, it’s our home.

“For all it’s just one barn, we have 25 or 30 people work here and it has effected all of them and their families.”

Since the incident, Rebecca said the family has been inundated with messages of support from the local community.

She added: “People have been so nice.

“The telephone hasn’t stopped ringing and my mum went on Facebook after the fire and there were so many messages of support for us.

“People come together when something like this happens, there’s a great sense of community spirit.

“The local farmers have been lending us equipment so the show on Sunday should still be taking place.”

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “Police received a report of a large fire in a barn in Links Road, Blyth, just before 2.45pm on Monday.

“Officers and the fire service attended and the road was closed for around an hour.

“A cordoning is currently in place around the building, which has been substantially damaged.”

Thankfully no one or any of the horses stabled at the farm were injured.

A 23-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident and was in police custody.

Anyone with any information into the incident is asked to contact police on 03456 043043 ext 69191.