Café serves up free brews after huge blaze

Steve Large, Andrew Byne and Julie Large at the Rocking Horse Cafe and Gallery at Rock. Picture by Jane Coltman
Steve Large, Andrew Byne and Julie Large at the Rocking Horse Cafe and Gallery at Rock. Picture by Jane Coltman

A kind-hearted village café is serving free brews to on-duty emergency services personnel, after a large fire erupted nearby.

The Rocking Horse Café and Gallery, in Rock, is offering the refreshments to ‘our wonderful police, fire and ambulance crews’ to thank them for the ‘fantastic and dangerous job they do’.

The fire at Rock Farm.

The fire at Rock Farm.

The gesture was prompted by a huge blaze which broke out in the barn next to the café in the early hours of Friday.

Julie Large, who runs The Rocking Horse with husband Steve and Andrew Byne, said: “The fire brigade did an amazing job that night and it highlighted what a fantastic and dangerous job our emergency services do.

“We have already offered the free cuppa facility to the local police in Alnwick, but if any police, fire or ambulance crews are on duty and are in need of a cuppa, please feel free to call in to The Rocking Horse Café for a tea or coffee on the house.”

Fire crews were called about the blaze at 2.17am on Friday, after flames engulfed a wood-chip drying plant on Rock Farm.

Paul Hedley, Chief Fire Officer at Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service.

Paul Hedley, Chief Fire Officer at Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service.

Personnel from Alnwick, Amble, Seahouses and Belford attended and the blaze was described as being a ‘large agricultural fire’ which was ‘well alight’.

Estate manager Carl Tuer said that the cause of the fire is still unknown, but the blaze has caused ‘significant damage’ and the gutted shed might well be a write-off.

He praised the efforts of the fire brigade and said that thankfully, the building is insured and nobody was hurt.

Mr Tuer also described the café’s offer of a free cuppa for on-duty emergency-service personnel as ‘very kind’.

Fire crews worked for hours to extinguish the blaze and to check over the site, and during this time, The Rocking Horse kept them fed and watered.

Julie said: “We couldn’t open on Friday because we had no electricity, but we used a camping gas stove to heat up coffees for the firemen.

“They were here all day dealing with the fire and they kept coming over in ones and twos for coffee and cake.

“It was nice to offer them this, because they did a great job and their response was excellent, and I think it was appreciated by them.

“We have been contacted by Northumberland’s Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hedley, thanking us for our kind gesture.

“So after this, we decided that we would offer a free cuppa to on-duty fire, police and ambulance crews.”

In response to The Rocking Horse’s offer, Mr Hedley said: “Following our attendance at an incident last Friday, The Rocking Horse Café has made a very kind gesture of offering all on-duty emergency service personnel free hot drinks.

“We are very grateful for the kind thoughts and gesture and really appreciate this as a thank you for the work Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, and all emergency services, carry out within the community.”

The café posted its emergency-services offer on Facebook and it received a positive response.

The post has had more than 170 reactions and been shared almost 80 times. Among the comments, people have described the gesture as lovely, wonderful and excellent.