AN embroidery business is “on the brink of losing everything” after its equipment was destroyed in the blaze which ripped through a row of shops.

AK Embroidery had £15,000 of machines destroyed in the fire in School Street on June 1, which also affected several other businesses.

Co-owner Alison Harlick is appealing for help to save her firm, which has operated in Westhoughton for 10 years but had only been in School Street since January.

The firm has an admin office and production room on the top floor of the building, which was badly damaged by the fire as it started in the roof.

Ms Harlick, aged 37, said the blaze had left her “totally devastated” and on the brink of shutting down as the firm has no insurance policy to cover the cost of replacement machines.

Her sister Kathryn is now organising a fundraiser at the Communiversity in Central Drive, Westhoughton, on a date to be confirmed soon.

Ms Harlick said: “We don’t know what is going to happen.

“What we are dealing with at the moment is awful — we are totally devastated.

“There is talk of getting temporary premises but until we get new machines we effectively do not have a business anymore.

“We have been totally thrown by this, you just do not expect your building to go up in flames.”

She runs the firm with business partner Kelly Foster, aged 36, and the pair have put two ruined machines, together worth £15,000, in storage while they consider what to do next.

Kathryn, Alison’s sister, is planning to have a bouncy castle, face-painting, stalls and other games for children at the fundraiser, which is still being finalised.

She said: “We are a close community in Westhoughton and everyone is upset at what happened.

“It’s amazing how people come together when this sort of thing happens.”

Alison added: “The community have been so kind to us and so caring.

“It has given us a glimmer of hope.”

To make a donation in support of AK Embroidery and help the business get back on its feet, please contact The Bolton News on 01204 537249.

The roof was destroyed by the blaze and businesses suffered water damage as firefighters battled to save the shops and fittings inside.

The building was not structurally damaged in the fire, which was started accidentally.

Other shops on the precinct include a pole fitness studio, body fitness, beauty salon with the banner opening soon, printers, dry cleaners and a gift shop.

BodyTORQ, which was also affected by the blaze, is holding gym sessions in alternative locations.