The owner of a Leicester independent garage has apologised to his customers after a major fire forced him into retirement.
Firefighters set up a 200-metre exclusion zone around the building and evacuated two neighbouring homes due to the risk of explosion from acetylene tanks inside the workshop.
The blaze at the garage, run by John Lorriman for around 40 years, started late on Friday 1 November and also destroyed his collection of vintage motorbikes which he still raced.
The cause is believed to be accidental.
“I’m just sorry I won’t be available for my customers”
John said: “I’ve run this business since 1982, I should have retired seven years ago.
“I’m a bit gutted, as you can imagine, but it’s made my mind up to retire at long last.
“I’m just sorry I won’t be available for my customers any more, some of whom I’ve had for 40 years.”
Neighbours and customers had organised a crowdfunding campaign to help the owner get back on his feet but John has politely declined financial help.
John added: “I am pleased and humble, really, to think that people have come together to try and raise money to help me.
“While I am grateful for the offer, we don’t need financial help, but I want to thank everyone for their support.
“I am so grateful and at a loss for words.”
Share your comments below.