A NETHERTON farm shop is preparing to say a big ‘thank you’ to its loyal customers.
Staff at Hinchliffe’s have organised a Family Fun Day to mark turning the corner after a disastrous fire which razed the wooden building to the ground last July.
The farm shop is still operating out of a giant state-of-the-art marquee. It was erected the week before Christmas in temperatures of minus 14 degrees.
The 900-metre marquee was supplied by Northern Event Structures, of Magdale, Honley, and is more like a purpose-built complex than a tent.
The centrally-heated structure has glass windows overlooking Castle Hill, a shop, restaurant, kitchen, two offices, bakery, storeroom, staff room and toilets.
However, owner Simon Hirst and colleagues are now looking forward to moving on to the next phase.
They are currently putting the final touches to plans for a new farm shop and restaurant. These will be submitted to Kirklees Council over the summer.
“It has been a life-changing year,” said Simon. “We couldn’t have got back on our feet without the tremendous support and loyalty of our customers and the Examiner readers; they have been fantastic.
“We have been amazed by all the good wishes. I never realised there was so much interest in Hinchliffe’s. It has been a very heartwarming experience.
“The last few months have been a very difficult time, but business is doing really well now and the atmosphere here is ten times better than in our darkest days.
“Everybody is so positive. In the end, some good things have come out of the tragedy.”
The Open Day will be held at the Netherton Moor Road farm from 9.30pm on Saturday. All profits will go to a bowel cancer charity and the Forget Me Not Trust.
The family and staff have laid on a wide range of events, including farrier, harness maker and wheelwright demonstrations, a barbecue, face painting and horse-drawn carriage rides. Alpacas, chickens, pigs and goats will be on view for the public to pet.
The fire, on July 5 of last year, completely destroyed the Sunnyside Farm site and killed 200 chickens.
Fire investigators believe the cause of the blaze was an electrical appliance.
The farm shop was one of the first in the UK when it was set up by Simon’s grandfather, Charlie, in 1974. It employs up to 50 staff, many of whom live in or near Netherton village.