A popular family restaurant left badly damaged by a fire has re-opened its doors.
The Old Polegate Station shut its doors for four months after the blaze ripped through the restaurant on the afternoon of Monday September 23 last year.
The fire started in the bottle cooler and the surrounding area was left with extensive fire damage, while the rest of the restaurant was badly smoked damaged.
Fast forward four months and the business, which re-opened its doors on January 7, has undergone extensive repair work and has new electrics put in and the walls, curtains and wallpaper which were left charred and blackened in the blaze have been replaced.
Tony Wyman, who runs the business with wife Karen, said, “We’ve been busy since the fire and getting ready to open.
“We’re obviously pleased to be back up and running.”
The restaurant, in Station Road, is based on the top floor and luckily the living accommodation downstairs was not damaged in the fire.
The incident saw 15 firefighters from Eastbourne and Hailsham rush to the scene after witnesses reported smoke billowing from the building, which was closed to the public that day as the restaurant shuts on a Monday.
Mr Wyman, 67, added, “Since we’ve re-opened word of mouth has spread about it and we’ve seen a lot of our regulars come back to see us which is nice.”
He and Karen took over the business in October 2007.
A bar/restaurant was opened there in 1988 and it was then known as The Old Polegate Station before becoming Buddies at the Old Polegate Station in 2000.
The couple changed it back to its original name when they took over.
The restaurant is housed in the original Victorian Polegate Station building, built in Polegate in 1881.
It was opened in connection with the construction of a new westward facing line to Hailsham and the 1880 extension of the Cuckoo Line to Eridge.
The first station was built in 1846 and situated where the current station building is today. The second station, the Old Polegate Station building, was closed to the public in 1986 when the current station in Polegate was opened.