Service charities boosted by clubbers’ generosity after fire

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EMERGENCY service workers were handed a charity boost after their quick actions saved the roof of a city party spot.

Bosses from the Astoria and Lyberry nightclubs in Guildhall Walk presented fire and police charities with a cheque for £1,835 yesterday.

BIG THANK YOU Left to right, firefighter Tom Davies, Southsea Red Watch Manager Jamie Wren, Astoria staff Gemma Sands, Alistair Ritchie, Mark Rumbold, with firefighter James Errigo, and firefighter Alex McMahon Picture by:  Malcolm Wells (180411-4308)

BIG THANK YOU Left to right, firefighter Tom Davies, Southsea Red Watch Manager Jamie Wren, Astoria staff Gemma Sands, Alistair Ritchie, Mark Rumbold, with firefighter James Errigo, and firefighter Alex McMahon Picture by: Malcolm Wells (180411-4308)

The donation came after clubbers dipped into their pockets at a Sunday party night, days after the Astoria was rocked by a fire.

Caused by an electrical fault, the blaze in the venue’s roof in the early hours of March 28 led to the evacuation of about 1,000 clubbers and staff.

No one was injured and emergency services were on the scene within minutes – and now club bosses have hailed their efforts with a bumper contribution.

Ali Ritchie, a shareholder and managing director at Astoria, said: ‘We wanted to say thank you for the efforts of those involved that night – their work was professional and speedy.

‘Our building is nearly 100 years old and the roof is made mostly of timber – things could have been much worse.

‘But the quality of the work that took place to put out the fire that night is reflected in the fact the business is still trading today.’

The donation handed over yesterday will be split in two, between The Fire Fighters Charity and an equivalent police cause.

There to collect it on behalf of his team was Jamie Wren, watch manager of Red Watch at Southsea Fire Station.

He said: ‘It was really nice to go along to the presentation – it’s very rare somebody shows us such a great level of appreciation.

‘Everyone at the club did really well to evacuate people so smoothly on the night and it certainly made our job easier.

‘Had we not have been able to work so quickly, I’m fairly sure the club could have lost its roof.’