Animal charity PACT opened its new Fakenham shop several weeks earlier than planned yesterday in a bid to help recover some of the money lost after a huge fire destroyed its shop in Dereham.

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PACT has also announced it will open a new shop on Dove Street, Norwich on Saturday.

Plans are being made to open another Dereham shop, but the date is to be confirmed.

It is estimated that the fire, which started at about 10pm on December 6, has cost the charity £10,000 in stock, £2,000 in fixtures and fittings and £1,600 per week in takings.

The fire is believed to have started accidentally.

But PACT general manager Bernie Barton said at yesterday’s opening: “Overall we’re doing OK. The support we’ve had from the public has been fantastic.

“We’ve had great media coverage from the EDP and Radio Norfolk and people have been responding well to our appeals for donations.

“One of the biggest things we lost from the closure of the Dereham shop is momentum.

“We were doing so well over there and had a record week, taking £1,800 just before the fire.

“We hope to regain that momentum again now with the opening of the new shop in Fakenham today, the shop in Norwich on Saturday and the new Dereham shop at some point in the near future.”

The Fakenham shop sells a range of items including furniture, bric-a-brac, clothes, jewellery, books and DVDs.

Mr Barton said the new Norwich shop will sell designer clothing, vintage antiques and collectable items.

PACT is an East Anglian charity which rescues, rehabilitates and, where possible, rehomes neglected, injured and abandoned animals.

The Rector of Fakenham, the Rev Adrian Bell, who carried out yesterday’s official opening, said: “PACT has been involved in Fakenham Parish Church’s Christmas Tree Festival for several years and I think it is an excellent charity.

“In difficult times it is often animals that suffer the most, so it is important to support charities like PACT.

“It is also good to see another empty shop in Fakenham being put to good use.”

PACT is looking for a new manager of its Fakenham shop and also a manager of its shop in Anglia Square, Norwich.

Soraya Parnell, who was manager of the Dereham shop, has become temporary manager in Fakenham.

She said: “It’s been a bit manic getting everything ready in time to open here in Fakenham.

“When we get settled we plan to open up the floor upstairs and to sell a whole range of things. We will have the shop looking more attractive as well.

“The support we’ve had so far has been fantastic and I hope that continues.”

Anyone interested in working or volunteering at PACT in Fakenham can go into the shop, on Norwich Street, to find out more.

To apply for the manager’s job in Norwich, call PACT on 01362 820775.

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