THE COMMUNITY in Oving has gathered to assess the damage after a fire ravaged one of its social hubs.
The Gribble Inn, in Gribble Lane, caught fire this morning (July 19).
This evening, after the flames in the thatched roof were extinguished, locals gathered to inspect a building many of them were sitting in just last night.
“It’s a fantastic pub,” said John Watkins, who lives just yards from the Gribble Inn.
“As a community hub there’s nothing better. The community thrives around it and this is one of the central places — this, the church and the village hall.
“It really works well as a community. They’ve really worked so hard to bring it back up to standards, not just food but the general hospitality.
“Going in, what I like is that I can walk in here at any time and it feels like home.”
Owners Simon Wood and Nikki Tester live above the pub, but are now staying with friends in the village after the fire in their home.
The Observer has received a number of messages for the couple from wellwishers.
- “So very sad, my friends and I had a lovely evening in your skittle alley last night and were shocked to hear this dreadful news. Hope you can get up and running again soon.” Patricia Humphreys
- “Beautiful pub and beer garden with friendly staff members and delicious beers. My thoughts go out to the owners.” Mark O’Leary
- “Devastating news. My best friend held her wedding reception there and it is a favourite place of ours. Hope they can rebuild as quickly as possible. Glad all are safe.” Jane Rey
- “This is tragic but glad the proprietors are safe. How awful, been going there for donkey’s years and had many a gathering. My thoughts go out to the owners xx.” Kate Kelly
- “Lots of love to Simon, Nicky and Flint xx.” Lisa Robinson
- “Not the Gribble how sad. Feel for the owners x.” Rowena Grainger
- “Very sad. Thoughts go out to the owners x.” Amy Parker
- “Sad indeed and this scale of damage will become more common if the proposed fire service cuts go through. The Observer area will be particularly badly affected unless people oppose the removal of 2nd fire appliances at Midhurst, Petworth and Storrington and the other cuts across West Sussex.” Tony Morris
- “My thoughts are with u Nicky and Simon x.” Rachel Parry
- “A huge loss for the village.” Gina Herbert
Please email any further testimonials to firstname.lastname@example.org.