No plaice like home as fire hit chippy re-opens

David Heywood outside the newly re-opened Seashells fish and chip shop in Monkseaton.

David Heywood outside the newly re-opened Seashells fish and chip shop in Monkseaton.

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A borough fish and chip shop devastated by fire has re-opened after weeks of repairs.

Seashells, in Front Street, Monkseaton, was forced to temporarily close after a fire struck the premises on Good Friday – their busiest day of the year.

It’s just a small business, we’re all looking forward to re-opening

David Heywood

But now, following weeks of hard work, owner David Heywood was able to re-open the establishment yesterday (Wednesday).

The fire was caused by the extractor fan, although the exact reason has yet to be determined by investigators.

Mr Heywood, who will mark 30 years owning the business this summer, said: “There was no structural damage to the shop, it was just smoke damage.

“Getting rid of the smell has been the hardest part.

“We’ve spent eight hours a day, seven days a week, for the last five weeks trying to get it all ready for the re-opening.”

He has also taken the opportunity to refurbish the entire shop, with customers keen to keep up to date with the progress.

“We’ve just been putting the final touches to the shop this week,” he added.

“It’s been fortunate that all the people we’ve had to get in, such as electricians, have done their jobs quickly.

“We’ve had a number of people phone up or stopping us in the street asking when we are re-opening.

“It’s just a small business, we’re all looking forward to re-opening. We’ve worked hard to get it up and running again.

“It would be nice to see the queues again once we have opened for business, it will be good to have everyone back.”

As well as its reputation, Seashells also plays an active role in the community through sponsorship with local sports clubs and supporting activities at nearby schools.