A POPULAR farm shop owner says he has lost his business and his home overnight after a major fire ripped through the building.

Brett Wilkinson owns The Farm Shop at Ombersley with his dad Alan Wilkinson and the pair were left devastated after the shop was ravaged by a major fire that raged for ten hours.

Eight fire crews were sent out to tackle the fire at the shop on Holt Fleet Road on Saturday afternoon (May 23).

Mr Wilkinson said: "I was out delivering supplies to people self-isolating when I got a call to say that the shop was on fire. I raced up the dual carriageway and saw the smoke. I ran around the back of the shop and was blown back by a massive explosion. It knocked me to the floor, there was thick black smoke everywhere.

"It really shook me up. I couldn't sleep at all last night. I was lucky to escape with my life, as was my dog, Henry. My amazing staff helped to drag him out of the shop where he was sleeping.

"When I saw the devastation caused by it all this morning, it properly sunk in. It is heartbreaking. I have lost my home as I lived in the building next door. All I ever do is work, the shop is my life and now it is gone. It feels like the end.

"I have had it for sixteen years, and I was so close to getting it exactly how I wanted it, people were loving it. My last project to perfect the place was going to be a large garden area around the ponds where children can play and families can gather. I can't do that anymore. I was so close to making it. I was about to semi-retire.

"I am so disappointed for the people who we deliver to who are isolating and all of our amazing customers. The support we have received has really shocked me, people have been coming down all day to offer their help and support. It has made me really emotional. I can't even read the Facebook messages. I didn't realise how much the community values us."

The local community has rallied around and a fund raising page set up last night has already reached £1,000, but, Mr Wilkinson has said he will donate the money to charity.

Hundreds of supportive comments have flooded social media with people sharing their love for the shop and the people who run it and their shock and despair that it has been reduced to ashes.

PICTURES: Major fire at farm shop in Ombersley 

READ MORE: Community rallies around farm shop after devastating fire in Ombersley

A spokesman for the Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said: "We were first called to the the scene at 16:39 yesterday. We sent two Worcester crews out, but the guys on route called for two more appliances to be sent out as they could see the smoke before they arrived.

"When they got to the scene, the extent of the fire meant they called for a further four appliances. The blaze was ongoing until 02:46 and the fire fighters stayed on the scene all night. The last crew left at 07:51 this morning."

Keeley Hughes, who lives opposite the shop and sometimes helps out, said: "I was selling a customer a plant when I noticed all the thick black smoke, we checked out the back and then that was it, it just went up in flames. It has really shaken us up, nobody has really slept, it is not something you expect to happen on your doorstep.

Another crew has been sent out today to reinspect the building to ensure it is safe. An investigation into the cause of the blaze will be carried out later on today.