A BUSINESS owner who lost his 20,000-strong Facebook following managed to get it back with help from an unlikely source.

Andy Ince, one of the owners of Fusion Trampoline Park in Carlisle, was devastated when the park’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were shut down over a dispute with another company.

Between them, the two pages had 20,000 followers.

Andy said: “It was a disaster for us and the future of our business. We had built it up over four or five years and it becomes very important to the business.

“There is virtually no way of appealing the decision by Facebook.

“We sadly decided we had no option but to change our name and set up a new Facebook account in the name of Fusion. This meant we, of course lost all our followers.

“In desperation I decided to write air mail letters marked ‘private and confidential ’ to Sir Nick Clegg - head of Global Affairs at Facebook in California - and also to Mark Zuckerberg.

“To be fair I thought we had lost it, and there was no harm in trying. I didn’t really think we would get a reply.”

Nick Clegg, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats and deputy Prime Minister under David Cameron, was hired as a lobbyist and public relations officer for Facebook.

It came after he lost his seat in the 2017 election.

To Andy’s surprise, he did get a reply. One of Mr Clegg’s assistants wrote back from California, and before long the page was re-opened, with all of the followers intact.

It was a huge bonus for a company that saw its income drop from around £70,000 a month to nought due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Andy added: “They said they would like to help - and they were really helpful when we started a dialogue.

“We did spend a bit of money every month on boosting posts and things, we’ve probably spent quite a lot of money over the years. We thought it was the end of it.

“They were really lovely. They’ve even invited me and the family for lunch if we’re ever in San Francisco!”

Fusion Trampoline Park, formerly known as Energi Trampoline Park, reopened on May 17 following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The park, which features wall to wall trampolines, giant inflatables and more, can be found on Millrace Road in the Willowholme Industrial Estate area of the city.