A GRATEFUL landlord is thanking the firefighters who came to the rescue of his family and customers during a devastating fire.
In September 2009, the historic Swan and Royal Hotel, in Castle Street, Clitheroe, was destroyed in a fierce blaze.
The fire tore through the 18th Century hotel, wrecking the roof and interior just before midnight.
Around 170 guests, who were enjoying a 30th birthday party, managed to flee the flames unharmed, but four people had a very narrow escape as they were trapped in the second floor living quarters and had to be rescued by fire crews and taken to hospital.
Forty firefighters spent hours bringing the blaze under control.
Mr Tez Joy, whose parents Carol and Terry own the hotel, was among the four people trapped in the living quarters. His fiancee and parents were also rescued. They were rushed to Royal Blackburn Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and severe shock.
A special dinner has now been organised by Terry Joy as a thank you to all the firefighters and people that helped in the rescue mission.
Speaking to the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times, he said: “I am so grateful to all these people and really don’t have the words to thank them.
“The three-course meal, on Saturday, March 12th, is just a small gesture to show them our appreciation.
“We are inviting the fire crews from Clitheroe Fire Station, Ribble Valley Mayor and Clitheroe Mayor, as well as the builders, contractors and traders from the Swan Courtyard.
“The fire crews rescued my family and evacuated the guests and it a privilege for the town of Clitheroe to have them. I just want to say a massive thank you to them for everything they did on the night.”
He added: “Everyone was so supportive to us when the fire broke out and lots of people helped to rebuild the hotel. It re-opened in September last year and since then we have been working on it in sections to refurbish it completely. It is now fully functional and looks magnificent. The builders worked in very difficult circumstances and the traders at the Swan Courtyard had to put up with a lot of devastation. I cannot thank everyone enough.”