A couple who lost their home and business when their hotel went on fire have been “blown away” by the generosity of their community.
Lesley and Jordan Foster had only recently taken on and refurbished the Taynuilt Inn near Oban in Argyll when it was forced to shut its doors by the pandemic.
But after more than a year of closure, the couple reopened the historic hotel and pub in May.
Then, following some difficult months, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was called to a blaze that had taken hold in the building just after 5am on Tuesday.
The inn, which sits on the A85 12 miles east of Oban, was engulfed in flames destroying both the Fosters’ home and livelihood.
Police described the fire as “extensive” closing off the road while four appliances tackled it.
“They ran out of that building with nothing but the clothes of their backs,” Christine Fox, a fellow business owner, told STV News.
“They’ve done an amazing job, it’s been so busy and it’s been a real hub for the community.”Christine Fox
Christine and Lorna Maclennan, who owns the village Post Office, rushed to the aid of those affected when they heard the news on Tuesday morning.
“They’re just a young couple, they’ve been doing a marvellous job getting it up and running through Covid,” said Lorna.
“It’s heartbreaking, for all the folk that work there, the customers that were staying there last night. They’ve lost so much.”
Christine set up a crowdfunder while Lorna started taking donations for the those affected at the Post Office.
Within a matter of hours they had raised almost £5000.
“I spoke to Lesley very briefly, she is absoltuely blown away,” Christine said as she was preparing soup and drinks to take up to the firefighers and police officers who were still on the scene ten hours later.
“Hospitality has had such a tough time. They’d been waiting on standby for the restrictions to lift. They’ve done an amazing job, it’s been so busy and it’s been a real hub for the community.”
The village of Taynuilt takes its name from the Gaelic Tigh-an-Uilt, meaning house of the stream, and was a traditional resting place for travellers.
“The people of Taynuilt and the surround area are so kind and generous, today is a prime example,” added Christine.