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Sadness as pub shuts its doors

By Fiona Reid
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Sadness as pub shuts its doors

A POPULAR Lockerbie pub and hotel will close its doors for good today.

Landlord Stephen Montgomery has taken the ‘sad decision’ to shut The Townhead Hotel.

The premises are under offer but Stephen confirmed it won’t continue as a hospitality venue.

Explaining his reasons for the move, which has surprised the community, he said: “In the last two years, we have all had time to reflect on our lives and what is most important to us. Owning and running a venue of the stature of the Townhead Hotel for the last eight years has been the greatest privilege, but it is also so much more than a full-time job.

“After much soul-searching, I have decided that my priority at this stage of my life is to maximise my time with my family and give myself more time to pursue my other passions in life.”

He had pledged to support his ‘loyal’ workforce and said: “The staff of the Townhead, both past and present, are like family to me and I will do my utmost to make sure they are supported in every way possible.”

Looking back on his time at the helm, Stephen expressed pride that the pub has been a central point for the community to eat, drink and socialise and at the transformations that have taken place there, as well as winning TV show Four In A Bed.

He also highlighted their role in lockdown, working with the Aberlour charity to deliver 15,000 meals to the vulnerable.

Describing his passion for and pride in the place, he said: “My thanks to our customers — your smiling faces, compliments, helpful criticism, banter and your continued support even in the darkest times of the pandemic. It has been the greatest privilege to serve you. I am so deeply grateful to everyone who has made The Townhead Hotel’s success possible.

“Unfortunately, the economic circumstances have been challenging and it has not been possible to find an appropriate buyer who would continue to operate the hotel in the interests of our community. With a heavy heart, the hotel will cease operating as a hospitality venue.

“I am sorry that the hotel will not be able to continue to serve this community but I have no doubt that in time to come, there will be other operators who will fill the space left by the Townhead and will take just as much pleasure as I have in calling Lockerbie home for the last 27 years.”

He hopes to continue with “new projects and passions” within hospitality and hinted at a new venue in the area “in the very near future”.

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