Can you help Linslade woman restart businesses after devastating fire?

'I’d really like to see Claire get back to the work she loves'

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 1:05 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd November 2021, 1:36 pm

A fundraising campaign has been launched to help a Linslade woman whose businesses were destroyed in a devastating fire.

Artist Claire Woolhead lost all her work on November 12 after flames ripped through her business and neighbouring units on Leighton Road, Stanbridge.

Determined to take action, Claire’s friend Hannah Smith-Cobain has set up a fundraising page with a target of £5,000 to help Claire get back on her feet.

Claire's businesses were destroyed in the fire.

Claire told the LBO: “I am very grateful. Grateful but embarrassed - I’m used to being an independent woman in control of carving a better path for my future. After an insurance complication, there is nothing. I need new premises, new products. Everything."

The entrepreneur runs two businesses, Claire Woolhead Art (working with custom showcar paint) and 72 Customs (classic car and motorbike restoration), both of which were based in the unit she shared with her father.

However, the blaze raged for eight to nine hours, with everything in both businesses “turned to charcoal” and neighbouring units destroyed or badly damaged too.

Updating the LBO, Claire added: “It has been signed off by the fire brigade. It was not due to negligence. It was a suspected electrical fire that started somewhere in the roof.”

Claire with some of her artwork pre-fire.

The online page will help both Claire and her father, and has so far raised £1,005.

Organiser Hannah said: “I had a phone call from Claire’s sister Lucy the afternoon of the fire and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“I was so glad that neither Claire or her father Paul were at the unit when the fire broke out as we knew they’d try to put it out. It could have been a very different phone call.”

She added: “I was gutted for Claire as I knew how much time and work she’d put into the businesses; it would be like losing a part of herself.

“I immediately wanted to know if there was anything I could do to help. I’m so grateful to everyone who has donated so far; I’d really like to see Claire get back to the work she loves.

“She has always been such a positive, talented and determined young lady. Her success with 72 Customs has been well deserved, and I was so proud of her when she became a signed artist.”