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Community / Moorfield staff thank community for ‘incredible generosity’ after fire

From left to right: James Milne and Mark Howard with in-house staff Rafael Pereira, Malin Roberts, Mark McNeill, Scott Arbuckle and Steve McDonnell.

STAFF at the Moorfield Hotel in Brae have thanked the local community for their “incredible generosity” following the devastating fire which destroyed the building earlier this week.

A handful of staff lived in the hotel and lost all of their possessions in the blaze, which spread through the building in the early hours of Monday morning.

Everyone inside at the time – around 70 staff and workers from the Shetland Gas Plant – was evacuated safely.

A clothes donation campaign for the staff and residents was soon launched by Cat Duncan, while James Milne – who worked as a chef at the hotel – also set up an online fundraiser.

The donations page has reached over £5,600 so far.

In a statement released on Thursday, the live-in staff of the hotel paid tribute to the support shown to the since the fire.

They praised porter Mark Howard, “whose actions on the night saved lives”.

He banged on residents’ doors and shouted to tell people to evacuate.

Showing some amount of dedication to his work, Howard then went to his other job at the Brae Co-op as usual later on Monday.

“If it were not for his quick thinking and his ability to relate to his training, the outcome of Sunday night’s events would have been a lot worse,” the staff said.

“We must thank all of the emergency services, everyone of them a true hero.”

The staff also thanked Cat Duncan, Katie Maggs and Diane Davis for their help throughout the day, “sorting clothes and running about after us all”.

“A special thank you to James Milne, from first thing on Monday morning, he started the GoFundMe, took us all to housing in Lerwick to get us a place to stay, he has not stopped. A true friend,” they added.

“We can’t believe how many people all came together and the things people donated for us, money included, to help us get back in our feet.

“To Stuart McCaffer, one of the hotel owners, who has supported us, and is continuing to support us.

“The British Red Cross for their massive donation of clothing and toiletries.

“Ian Mills from the union Unite and Marion Johnson, for contributing huge amounts to the GoFundMe account.

“We are grateful for every single person who has donated, called, text, wishing us luck. We also thank the SIC housing for getting us a place to stay so quickly.”

Shetland News spoke to one of the live-in staff – food and beverage supervisor Malin Roberts – about her experience of losing her belongings in the fire.

The staff were already coming to terms with the Moorfield being set to close in early August with the loss of 45 jobs.

The decision was made after the hotel lost the contract to house gas plant workers.

The contract is moving to the nearby Sella Ness accommodation facility.

The Moorfield Hotel was opened in 2013 primarily to accommodate gas plant workers.