Brackmills fire: My 1st Years boss thanks Northampton community for support after devastating blow to business

Staff are still in a state of shock, but say they are working hard to ‘bounce back quickly, as promised’

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 12:02 pm

A business which went up in flames over the weekend has thanked the community spirit and support from customers, as well as people across Northampton

My 1st Years, a popular, national company, which specialises in personalised items for children, was left devastated after a fire took hold of its Brackmills base in the early hours of Saturday morning (May 1).

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The fire in Brackmills Industrial Estate on Saturday (May 1).
The fire in Brackmills Industrial Estate on Saturday (May 1).

Following the fire at the company’s head office in Caswell Road - the cause for which has not yet been announced - staff were left heartbroken, but bosses said they would come back stronger.

Now the family-run company is working hard to explore their options as the unit is destroyed to the point where it is believed nothing will be salvageable.

Richard Parkes, head of operations at My 1st Years, told Chronicle & Echo: “We’re still in a state of shock. It’s something you never think is going to happen to you or indeed something to be prepared for.

“We continue to work with police and the fire service to determine the cause and the extent of the damage, which will be extensive. We can’t get into the building.

The damage to the My 1st Years unit is extensive.

“Luckily we were on top of orders on Friday so it’s just customers over the weekend who will have disappointing news about their orders.

“We have personally contacted all those customers via social media and email.

“We are now taking the time to assess what we have lost. The chances of anything being salvageable are slim.”

Since the incident happened, the company has been inundated with messages of support and offers of help, which Richard says he is extremely grateful for.

He added: “Everyone has been brilliant and we have had a fantastic response, not just with our customers but with the local community too.

“I’m currently sitting in an office that a business on Brackmills has let us use free of charge while we get back on our feet.

“It really has been a great community response. People have rallied round in support.

“Myself and 99 percent of our staff are all central Northampton based. It was a big shock to them all as it was for me.

“I’m lucky to have a great team with a very low staff turnover. It’s cliché but we are a family and we spend more time with each other than we do at home.

“It’s not just work for us so it has really hit us hard.”

Richard says he and his team will now spend the next few days speaking to landlords to see what the company’s options are as they focus on ‘bouncing back quickly, as promised’.

“We also want to say thank you to the police and fire. They were unbelievable,” Richard continued.

“The care and attention to detail with me directly was brilliant.

“I couldn’t say anymore other than how good they were.”

More updates on the cause of the fire as and when we get them.

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