Landlord of fire-damaged Sixfields pub thanks generous public and vows to reopen

Matt Skolfield and family

Matt Skolfield and family

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A landlord whose Northampton pub was destroyed by fire has thanked the host of people who have donated money to get his family get back on their feet.

The Sixfields Tavern caught fire shortly before the Cobblers match kicked of nearby on Saturday.

Picture by Jamie Cooper

Picture by Jamie Cooper

Up to 60 firefighters were called out to deal with the blaze but, although they brought it under control before the entire building was destroyed, landlord Matt Skolfield and family were left without a home.

However, despite having just lost her place of work, within hours, 16-year-old bar worker Brittany Coward set up a Just Giving fund online that has gathered about £3,000 in four days, triple its £1,000 target

Mr Skolfield, who had been at the pub only three months, said: “I’ve been taken aback by people’s generosity.

“The staff and customers have rallied round, as well as people who just want to help.

“It’s incredibly touching and it’s been a great help to us.

“I’ve already thanked Brittany, but I would like to say thank you to those people too.

“I really can’t thank people enough “

The family – Matt, Erica, Jack, aged 4, and Archie, who is three on Sunday – have been found temporary accommodation by Greene King, the firm that owns The Sixfields Tavern.

Mr Skolfield said: “The company has been really good and put us up. They’ve been truly fantastic over the last few days

“We don’t have anything because we didn’t have any insurance so we have literally lost everything.

“We have clothes and shoes and essentials, but we don’t know what we will do in the medium term.

“But we have family and friends round us and the company has treated us well.”

Although the building was badly damaged, it is likely it will be rebuilt and Mr Skolfield expressed his determination to return.

He said: “I’d love to go back to the pub.

“Me and the team would love to go back.

“It will absolutely be rebuilt, whether that takes six months or a year. It is a very popular pub.

“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into the refurbishment and a lot of personal investment and we have a great team.

“It certainly feels like unfinished business.”

Donations have come from Northampton Town, one of the boys’ nursery, and other pubs in the town.

Many messages of support came along with the pledges, even from strangers.

John and Sarah McCormick and family wrote: “We don’t know the Skolfields but were greatly affected by the news. We were so upset to learn a local family has had this happen. We hope you can be encouraged a little by these gifts.”

Brittany’s mum, Louise Wipperman, who has been helping co-ordinate the donations said: “People have even donated brand new toys they had bought for their own children. It’s so touching.”

Mr Skolfield said people have been so generous with toys, clothes and books, they have no space to store them all.

Although hugely grateful, Mr Skolfield is now suggesting that people consider donating items to local charities ahead of Christmas instead.