Northampton landlord talks about the blaze that destroyed his home... and his joy over the long-awaited grand reopening
The licensee of a popular matchday watering hole is keenly anticipating the opening date of his rebuilt pub, 15 months after it was burned almost to the ground.
In December 2015 the Sixfields Tavern, along with the living quarters of landlord Matt Skolfield and his family, were destroyed and the subsequent closure forced the close-knit team of bar staff to be sent to work in other Greene King pubs around the country.
But today brewers have confirmed that the pub will open to punters in May.
He said: "We have had hundreds of comments on social media. I'm really excited about moving back, it's great local trade."However, Matt says the family will never mentally get over losing their home.
He said: "Everything we ever owned was in that fire, we lost everything. When I got back to the site I looked at the fire and the only thing I still owned was what I was wearing.
"Possessions can be replaced over time but it's been hard to replace everything. It was 10 days before my sons birthday and four weeks before Christmas.
"We lost sentimental stuff, like photos we never backed up and keepsakes from when the kids were born."
Matt moved to Margate in Kent after the fire and has been working in pubs all over the country on monthly contracts.
He added: "Obviously, Greene King have been incredibly supportive, I had only been working with them three months before the fire but the moves have been difficult.
"Luckily kids at that age are quite resilient they have found it quite an adventure. We are very lucky in that we weren't in when the fire happened if it happened in the middle of the night, god forbid, it might have been a different story."
A Greene King spokesperson said work is continuing to progress well on the rebuilding of the Sixfields pub following the fire that destroyed the building but there is no confirmed reopening date as yet.
However, the brewer is currently aiming to reopen for mid to late May this year.
The family want to pay thanks to Greene King and the support they have received from their friends, family and complete strangers who supported them by donating clothes, toys and school uniforms to their children.
One waitress even set up a JustGiving page and others rallied together to provide them with a bouncy castle so they could celebrate their son's birthday the following week.
"So many people came out to help, it really was heartwarming," he adds.