Generations Of Family Heirlooms Lost In Barn Fire At Wilburton

PUBLISHED: 16:04 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 04 May 2010

the damage at Martin's Farm

the damage at Martin's Farm

IRREPLACEABLE family heirlooms and thousands of pounds-worth of machinery were destroyed at a Wilburton farm on Monday. Farmers Keith and Joyce Ladson lost generations-worth of family memories in a matter of minutes in the blaze which laid waste to more t

IRREPLACEABLE family heirlooms and thousands of pounds-worth of machinery were destroyed at a Wilburton farm on Monday.

Farmers Keith and Joyce Ladson lost generations-worth of family memories in a matter of minutes in the blaze which laid waste to more than half of Martin's Farm just off the A1123 in Wilburton.

The well-known couple, who have been farming in Wilburton for decades, were woken by neighbours who were alerted to the barn blaze by an anonymous commuter who selflessly pulled over in his car on the way to work.

Mrs Ladson told the Ely Standard: "We sleep in a room at the back of the house so we had no idea the fire was taking hold until a young man arrived with the neighbours to raise the alarm.

"We would really like to meet with the young man and just say thank you because if he hadn't have stopped and help phone the fire service then we may have lost more."

More than 30 fire-fighters and six fire engines were called at around 5.45am to tackle the blaze and despite managing to salvage some of the buildings, more than half of the barns were destroyed along with a number of tractors and scores of family heirlooms, rosettes from competitions, belonging to the distraught owners.

"I had lots of my mothers' and grandmothers' possessions in the barns which have been destroyed as have all of our tractors and a lot of farming equipment," said Mrs Ladson.

"But I can't say enough about the fire service. They stopped the fire spreading towards the house and towards our animals and were absolutely marvellous."

The couples' grandson, James Ladson, told the Ely Standard: "It is really upsetting to see the farm in this state, it's not just the tractors that have been lost but it's all the things money can't replace like my granddads' vintage tractor, all our photographs, prizewinning rosettes and a lifetime of memories, I don't think we will ever get it back to how it used to be again."

A spokesperson for the fire service said: "A fire investigation has now been carried out at the scene, which has confirmed that the fire was accidental.

However, despite a thorough investigation, we have been unable pinpoint the precise cause of the fire."

INFO: are you the man who raised the alarm. Contact the Ely Standard and we will put you in touch with the Ladsons.


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