A GARDEN centre devastated by fire is rising from the flames.

The manager of Strikes in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, has praised the resilience of staff and the community spirit shown by nearby residents and customers after the blaze broke out on April 7.

Little was left untouched by the flames but, last weekend, bosses were able to open a temporary shop.

Manager, Caroline Scaife said: "We managed to open on Saturday, trading mainly from the outside plant area - plants, compost, all the pots.

"We managed to set up the old store room as a temporary shop, which has got chemicals and bits and bobs in. Thankfully, we did get some customers in at the weekend and they were all for us and looking forward to us getting back to normal."

Reflecting on the night of the fire, Caroline said: "It was horrible. I got the phone call about 10.30pm and I just couldn't believe it. I drove straight across, because I live at Newton Aycliffe. When I got here all the staff were crying their eyes out. Everyone was just hugging each other, it was horrible."

The Northern Echo: Fire crews at Strikes, Stokesley. Pictures: Matt Westcott

The aftermath of the fire. Picture: Matt Westcott

Caroline said the response since had been amazing.

"One of the girls who controls the Facebook page said within about an hour she had about 130 messages, her phone just kept pinging all the time," she said. "The amount of messages on Facebook is just unbelievable and some lovely letters and emails.

"It is just so nice to know that everybody is behind you. I have worked for the company since William Strike owned it and when Klondike took us over that was a big step for us. It is just so nice that everybody is still behind Strikes."

She added: "The company has been marvellous. All the staff are redeployed at our Northallerton branch, our Leeds branch, so everybody has got work."

Caroline said hopefully within four to six weeks a temporary building will be set up to allow for further items to be traded.

"We are just waiting for the insurance company to okay that," she said. "The new temporary shop will be next to us in the field with a coffee shop as well and that will keep us going until the rebuild and, hopefully, as soon as it gets through planning then the rebuild will start."

Caroline said the cause of the fire was still being investigated.

"The insurance company are still on site at the moment and are still going through everything. We know that it started at the rear of the building, so that's somewhere round by the coffee shop, kitchen area in that region, but we don't know for certain," she said.