Eddie the Eagle caught in fire chaos
Former Olympic ski jumper, Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards, got caught up in a gridlocked Wotton-under-Edge this morning after emergency crews closed off Long Street to attend to a shop fire.
Have-a-go-hero Eddie, who competed at Calgary in the 1988 Winter Olympics - famously coming last in all his events - swooped into the town this morning to open the new RSPCA South Cotswolds charity shop.
After cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of the new branch, Eddie got into his car to set off for an important appointment. However, a 999 call put pay to the Eagle's plans, as he found himself stuck in a tailback spanning the entire length of Long Street, and beyond.
It transpired that the traffic chaos was due to two appliances blocking the entrance to Long Street from the High Street end. The engines had been deployed by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service in response to a call from a member of the public who had spotted a fire in a shop there.
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One appliance from Wotton-under-Edge and one from Dursley attended. Once at the scene crews found a light fitting on fire inside the shop. To prevent the fire spreading, crews forced entry - as the shop was closed - and isolated the electrics. Thankfully the fire was contained to the light fitting.
After 40 minutes crews established that the situation had been resolved and that all action to make the scene safe had been taken - meaning that anxious motorists were at last free to continue on their way.
Meanwhile, undeterred by the drama unfolding a few doors down, shoppers flooded into the newly-opened RSPCA South Cotswolds branch, eager to see what the new shop had to offer.
Adrian White, retail development officer for the RSPCA South Cotswolds Branch, said: "We are delighted that Eddie the Eagle opened the shop for us. We are proud of our charity shops and believe that they offer a great opportunity to buy good-quality, pre-loved clothing, books, household items and gifts in lovely surroundings at reasonable prices.
"The community of Wotton has already been very supportive of the shop and we are starting to put together a great team of local people to help us make the new branch a success."
All money raised by RSPCA South Cotswolds Branch shops is used to support local vulnerable animals - helping more than 1,000 local animals every year.
Anyone interested in helping out in the new shop, or those with any unwanted goods to donate, are invited to contact Adrian on 07780 916668, or pop into the shop in Long Street.
* For more information visit the branch website at www.rspca-southcotswolds.org.uk