STAFF are working around the clock to get Huddersfield’s fire-ravaged Oxfam recycling centre up and running again.
But charity bosses have had to issue an urgent appeal for donations after £100,000 worth of clothing, much of which was set to be sold at some of the country’s biggest music festivals, was destroyed in the blaze.
More than 70 firefighters were called to tackle the inferno at the charity’s Wastesaver plant on Beck Road almost a fortnight ago.
All of the machinery used to run the operation was destroyed along with the clothing that was bagged up ready to be sent to summer festivals around the UK.
The Huddersfield plant processes 120 tonnes of clothing every week, sent there from the charity’s shops nationwide.
Of this around 12 tonnes of the more individual items are filtered for sale at special festival shops at venues including Glastonbury and Leeds Festival.
The shops are tailored to every festival and sell all kinds of vintage and quirky clothing.
Oxfam has gained a real foothold at the festivals, going from making £6,000 from a stall in 2005 to £135,000 in 2009.
Staff at the unique centre spend all year finding suitable clothing and were devastated to find that most of it had been destroyed.
The race is now on to replenish the stock and charity bosses are making an appeal to people around the country to help.
Oxfam spokesman Stuart Fowkes said: “Everything in the production facility was destroyed and that included £100,000 worth of clothing.
“All of the clothing ready for the summer festivals was being held there and a huge amount of stock, including most of the vintage fashion, was destroyed.
“They were set to be sold at 10 festivals, including the big ones like Glastonbury and Bestival.
“A lot of these clothes are very specialised and so not easy to get hold of and replace, things like the ballerina frocks and wedding dresses as well as the more expensive, vintage fashion.
“The festivals are coming up soon so we need to find replacements quickly.
“This is why we are launching a national appeal for more stock and asking people to make donations to their local shop.”
Since the fire, the charity has been inundated with offers of help, including premises and office equipment.
Last week fire officials said the cause of the blaze may never be found as the building is too unsafe for investigations to continue.
But staff have been able to enter the two adjoining units and are now back to work, although they still need replacement machinery and a more permanent premises.
Mr Fowkes said: “At the moment there’s manual sorting going on.
“The machinery, which was very expensive, needs to be replaced but it will all be working again as quickly as possible.
“The staff have been amazing. They reacted very quickly and have been working around the clock to make sure the shop doesn’t grind to a halt – there’s been a real Dunkirk spirit”.