Shropshire Star

#backtobusiness: Help is served up as £3,000 is raised so far for flood-hit cafe in Ironbridge Gorge

An online fundraiser which was set up to help a flood-hit cafe near Ironbridge reopen has now raised more than £3,000.

Owner Chris Harrison at Dale End Cafe, Coalbrookdale

Dale End Cafe, in Coalbrookdale, has been devastated by flooding in recent weeks, causing thousands of pounds damage.

The building was flooded three times in the last few weeks, firstly after a nearby brook rose dramatically on Sunday, February 16 – the day the team was supposed to be celebrating their second anniversary in the café – and then twice more when the River Severn burst its banks in the aftermath of Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis.

Owners Chris Harrison and his wife Sharon Shenton have seen a massive outpouring of support from the community who have helped with the clean-up effort and offered their services free of charge.

Dale End Cafe in Coalbrookdale was flooded

A JustGiving fundraising page was also launched online in a bid to raise £5,000 for the cafe, which has no insurance.

It was set up by Julie Ward, of Leegomery, who has been supported by the owners with her own fundraising events, and has now raised more than £3,100, with more than 160 people pledging donations.

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The cafe has also been loaned a mobile catering unit and is hoping to be able to reopen, offering a limited service, by the weekend.

Mr Harrison, 47, from Trench, said: "We are currently drying out. We are so grateful for the support we've had so far. "Over the weekend we were expecting another flood but it didn't happen.

"We have just had gravel donated so we can sort out the car park and someone has also donated a catering trailer, so we will be able to offer a limited service.

Inside the cafe after the floods

"We will be able to do takeaway butties and we are hoping to put some picnic tables out for people to sit outside.

"Since the floods we've had no income so this will help. It's really uplifting that so many people care about us getting open."

Ironbridge Antiques, Arts & Crafts was also flooded twice in the past few weeks and the water gutted its tea room.

The antiques centre at Merrythought Village has been able to reopen, but Nigel Byard, director of the company, says it could be another week and a half until the tea room is back in business.

After making an appeal for help on Facebook, Ironbridge Interiors came forward to offer a new kitchen for the tea room.

Mr Byard said: "We can't thank them enough. It's just amazing. We've also had someone offer to fit the floor.

"The antique centre is open. It's not perfect, at some point we will have to repaint the floor but it is tradeable.

"I'm hoping if we can get all the flooring done, we can reopen the tea room in a week and a half."

Anyone who wants to donate to the Dale End Cafe fundraiser can visit