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There was drama at Aston-le-Walls horse trials on Saturday (8 March) when a fire burned down a trade stand, leaving its owner watching her stock of vintage riding clothing go up in smoke.

Ros Thompstone of Thompstone’s Toppers had spent 30 years collecting antique top hats and hunting gear.

“To see it all evaporate before my eyes was just devastating,” Ros told H&H. “To add insult to injury I had just bought a new mobile unit to display all the stock.”

Silk top hats, woolen tailcoats and riding jackets were among the items to go up in flames.

“We salvaged a few men’s shirts and other bits and bobs, which I might be able sell at a few local shows, but most of it is irreplaceable, which means the business is no longer viable,” she added.

The fire started in a cooking stove in Ros’s caravan and quickly spread to her stand.

“Thankfully no one was hurt and I am very grateful to everyone who tried to help,” she said.

5 fire engines were called to the scene, but the fire had been extinguished before they arrived.

“Fortunately we had the tractors on hand and used big bowsers full of water from the ponds to put out the flames,” organiser Nigel Taylor told H&H.

Pictures of the flames and billowing black smoke were posted on social media sites, and other tradestand holders took to Twitter to thank those on hand who helped contain the fire.

Sophie Harvey of Horses In Sport, whose tradestand was next door to Thompston’s Toppers, tweeted: “Watching flames inches from your stand is not good! But so thankful to the eventing community who saved us.”