Hastings man thanks community for helping his business 'rise from the ashes' following major fire

A Hastings man has this week thanked the community for helping him resurrect his business following a devastating fire.

Leighton Goobie, who owns The Old Wood Works, lost everything when a blaze broke out at his former premises in Waterworks Road on August 10.

The fire spread within minutes and firefighters from Hastings, Bexhill, Rye and Eastbourne spent more than 10 hours putting out the fire, which started after an extractor fan caught fire.

Following the blaze, an online fundraising page was launched by The Yard at Waterworks Road to help Leighton back on his feet, with thousands of pounds raised within days. Leighton also vowed to start his carpentry and joinery business from scratch and ‘rise from the ashes’.

He has now reopened his business at new premises in Bridge Way, St Leonards.

Leighton said: “I can’t thank everyone enough who donated on the fundraising page, all the customers, friends and anonymous donations.

“Since the fire I have been working absolutely flat out to get back on my feet. There’s this saying, every cloud has a silver lining, and this is the proof.

“This is an amazing workshop I have now and would like to get bigger, keep going and see what the future holds.

“I’ve worked really hard to get back up and running and not stopped. This is a job I have grown up with.

“I think it’s my pure passion for what I do that has given me that extra push. I kept thinking I know what I wanted and it all slotted into place.”

More than £9,600 has been donated so far on the fundraising page, and Leighton was able to buy machinery and other materials to start over again.

Leighton added: “I need to get the heating sorted and extractor fans put in but I am getting there. The list of things to do is coming down.”

Following the fire in August, he said he was ‘absolutely lucky to be alive’, as the blaze took hold while he was at work in his workshop.

At the time, Leighton said: “One minute I was sanding some boards and the next minute there was smoke and flames. I can’t believe how quick the fire spread. There were flames everywhere.”

Lucy Gastall, from The Yard, who launched the JustGiving page, said Leighton’s ‘entire livelihood’ was lost when the fire took hold, and added that at least £200,000 worth of machinery and tools, reclaimed timber, finished stock, fixtures and fittings were lost.

Leighton makes furniture from reclaimed and recycled wood, as well as offering cheap kindling, and added he is now ready to take orders from customers.

He said funds are still needed to help him pay to get heating and extractor fans installed at his new premises, which are located at Unit 1, rear of 12 Bridge Way, St Leonards, TN38 8AP.

The fundraising page can be found at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/helpleightonrisefromtheashes.