The owners of the Maryfield Hotel in Bressay have been heartened by the support of the community since the disappearance of the couple leasing the premises.
David and Linda Wood say they have had their faith in human nature restored by the folk who came from Bressay and Lerwick to help clean the hotel, which they have now reclaimed.
Mr and Mrs Wood were devastated when the Canadian couple to whom they leased the hotel left at the beginning of April. Patrick and Morgan Blanch went with no warning, but because they were still the leaseholders, the Woods could not immediately re-take possession of their property. This has now been legally resolved.
However when they did gain entry, the Woods found the hotel, which they had run for 26 years, was in a poor state. Mr Wood said he and his wife were “heartbroken”.
They said electrical items and bedding were missing, walls and doors were damaged and the place was dirty.
But on Monday night people came “with vacuum cleaners in their hands”, according to Mr Wood. He said: “At least 20 people from Bressay and Lerwick came and cleaned the place from top to bottom. They arrived saying ‘Where do you want me to start?’ A bunch of young lads from the football club were on their hands and knees scrubbing. It was pretty amazing, the amount of support we’ve had.
“If there were carpets they were hoovered, if there was paintwork it was washed and if there was woodwork it was cleaned and polished.
“The amount of support we’ve had has really restored our faith in human beings, it’s quite overwhelming. When the hotel was cleaned we felt so much better, it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted.”
The chairman of the Bressay Development Association, Alistair Christie-Henry, and vice chairwoman Hazel Anderson were among those who came to help.
The Woods have also had encouraging comments online from regular customers from England, Scotland and Norway.
Now, said Mr Wood, he and his wife are “moving forward, and hope the lights will be on again soon” in the Maryfield Hotel. However, they do not intend to run the premises again themselves.
The police insist the case is a civil, not a criminal matter and will not be pursuing it. Mr Wood said he hopes the same situation does not now happen to anyone else.
• “Sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of those who turned up to help in any way,” see Letters.