The boss of South Tyneside auction house has spoken of his delight at seeing a huge turnout to his first auction since a devastating blaze destroyed his premises.
Jarrow Auction Rooms owner Brian Cairns was left heartbroken when a fire tore through his business, based in a former church on Bede Burn Road in Jarrow, in November 2017.
But now, more than a year on, things are looking up for the popular business, which held its first auction at its new base at the Neon Social Club in Nairn Street, Jarrow, earlier this month.
The former social club, owned by pub boss Tony Singh, is being sublet by friend Paddy Cunningham, and will be a base for the auction house for at least the next 12 months.
Mr Cairns was delighted to see a mix of old and new customers from the region who turned out to show their support for the business now that it is back up and running.
He said: “The auction was fantastic and we had 55 new bidders.
“It featured 539 lots, ranging from antiques and records to toys and grandfather clocks.
“I am still looking for a new building, as I don’t think this is the building that we want to grow into, but it is a good temporary base.”
In an emotional post on the Jarrow Auction Rooms Facebook page, Mr Cairns added: “Thanks to all customers old and new for your support today. Been a long 13 months.
“Have to admit was a bit nervous about how many would turn up today. Thank you very much.”
Until recently Mr Cairns still hope to rebuild the former church, but was dealt a blow when he says he was told by the insurance company that it would not be paying out as it had been under-insured.
Mr Cairns said he was told by the insurer that it would cost £1.4million for a total rebuild, something he disputes, believing that it doesn’t need a rebuild.
He took the issue to the ombudsman, but was told there was nothing it could do.
The Bede Burn Road building has gone up for sale at auction and Mr Cairns is now on the lookout to buy a new base for his business in the Jarrow area next year.