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Commoners Andrew and Sarah Parry-Norton thank helpers after huge fire does 'considerable damage' at Storm's Farm, Cadnam

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A COMMONING couple say their "faith in human kindness has been restored" after they received a raft of help offers following a fire which caused "considerable damage" to their farm.

A blaze broke out at a barn at Storm's Farm, Cadnam, at around 11.30am on Monday morning, but luckily owners Andrew and Sarah Parry-Norton and their animals escaped unharmed.

"It was an incredibly intensive fire," Andrew told the A&T. "My truck was parked 100 yards away and its rear lights actually melted!

There was "considerable" damage done
There was "considerable" damage done

"The fire brigade investigator has already been and said they don’t have any idea what started the fire and can’t really draw any conclusions. They think it may be an electrical fault."

The couple have since been "inundated" with offers of assistance, saying they are hugely thankful.

"On the evening of the fire we came back home and saw someone had dropped £500 in cash through our letterbox with a note saying they knew how much work we put in on the farm and wanted to help us out, which was amazing,” Andrew continued.

"People have been offering straw, hay, cattle feed, and a farm just up the road from us gave us straw on Monday evening so we could fed our animals – it’s absolutely fantastic.

"We really would like to say thank you to everyone and just how grateful we really are. It really does restore your faith in lot of human kindness."

The fire broke out on Monday
The fire broke out on Monday

Andrew said he heard the fire at about 11.30am: "I could hear it roaring. I came round and saw one side of the straw alight and smoke was billowing from the workshop.

"We phoned the fire brigade straight away and I tried to take the straw out but soon realised it was a losing battle. We got a cow out and made sure the animals were okay and the fire brigade were here quickly; they were brilliant."

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said appliances from Beaulieu, Hightown Lymington, Ringwood, Romsey, Eastleigh attended, along with one from the Dorset and Wiltshire service, ambulances and an animal welfare unit – which helped the couple move their pigs to safety.

Andrew added: "One thing to say is that our barn on three sides has concrete panels about halfway up – and the fire brigade said those panels had helped stop the spread of the fire.

Andrew and Sarah Parry-Norton
Andrew and Sarah Parry-Norton

"That is something of interest to farmers – those panels do help stop fires spreading."

While he could not how much the damage had cost, Andrew said it was "considerable".

"At the end of the day nobody got hurt and all the animals got out. It could have been a lot worse," he added.

As reported in the A&T, Andrew and Sarah run the Commoners Larder and pride themselves on providing very good quality meat from animals that have had the "best life possible" grazing on the open Forest.

A fourth-generation farmer and member of local food initiative the New Forest Marque, Andrew has a herd of Devon cows and sheep that are turned out during the summer months, pigs that hoover up the acorns during pannage season in the autumn, and ponies, chickens and ducks.

In a drive to educate the public about the commoning way of life and farming practices on a small family-run plot, the couple launched tours of their site in Kewlake Lane.

They also supply meat to the Old Beams Inn pub at Ibsley, the Forest Foodie hampers, and various butchers in Winsor, Wimborne and Botley, Southampton.

Meanwhile the Commoners Larder provides a doorstep delivery of breakfast, barbecue and roast dinner boxes to homes and campsites, including New Park in Brockenhurst, Paddock View in Copythorne and Green Pastures at Winsor.

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