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Friends come to rescue after fire

PUBLISHED: 20:40 20 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:47 02 March 2010

AFTER a mystery fire and then a fall, Philip Harper feared his dream of opening his new business on time had suffered one set-back too many.

But today, just a week later, his plans are back on course – thanks to the love of his family and friends.

AFTER a mystery fire and then a fall, Philip Harper feared his dream of opening his new business on time had suffered one set-back too many.

But today, just a week later, his plans are back on course - thanks to the love of his family and friends.

Landscape gardener Mr Harper, 29, was left with a major headache after suddenly being called to his premises at Trimley St Mary where firefighters were tackling a blaze in the shop area of his new enterprise.

The following day, with the stress of the fire and the worry over the race to get the business ready to open, he suffered a black-out and fell downstairs.

Doctors advised him to rest - but while he did so, his family and friends rallied round to do the work at the site in Cordys Lane.

"The fire is just a mystery - we have no idea what caused it. The fire service said they had to cut the lock to get into the building and there was no electrics connected," said Mr Harper.

"We are converting old containers into the shop area and so the damage was not as bad as it would have been had we had a timber building.

"But it was a set-back and there was a lot of smoke damage to clean up and stock to sort out and reorder."

Mr Harper, of Felixstowe, said that he felt stress caused him to then pass out and fall downstairs at his home last week.

"I don't really know too much about what happened. One minute I was at the top of the stairs and the next I had two ambulance crew members attending to me," he said.

"The doctors said I had to have a couple of days' rest, which was not what I wanted to hear just then with only a week or so to get the preparations complete to open the business.

"But my family and friends have been wonderful and I really cannot thank them enough for the work that they have done to help me through this time. People in the other businesses here have also helped and it has been brilliant.

"We still have several days' work to do but I am sure we will now be ready to open on Saturday "

Mr Harper, who has run his company Landscape Contractors for about eight years, is opening a garden centre called The Landscape Center at the former premises of Station Nurseries.

The business will employ four people, including himself, and will sell plants and materials for garden landscaping as well as featuring show gardens to help inspire people with their designs.


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