MORE than 160 key workers on Cumbrae were given a free meal thanks to the Crocodile Chippy.

Owners Helen Letham and James Taberner wanted to say thank you to key workers for what they are doing keeping the island safe and issued a call for deserving nominees.

The partners took meals to the island’s doctors, pharmacy, hospital, care homes and shops to show their appreciation during the coronavirus lockdown.

Helen said: “We’re not open at the minute, but we just wanted to do that for everybody who is working and helping out in the community.

“We had some bags of potatoes left over, we’re a close-knit community and it was something that we could do to help.

“It was something we had thought about doing for a few weeks, we just decided to go for it and it was really positive.”

Helen says that the response from the Millport community has been appreciative and hopes that islanders will support local businesses when they can.

She said: “It was really positive, there’s been a few Facebook posts just thanking us, people are just grateful and it’s nice to be appreciated.

“It kind of works both ways, with more people are staying on the island, shopping local, we just hope everybody pays it back.”

A number of takeaways and shops have reopened for deliveries in North Coast communities in the last few weeks, however the owners of the Crocodile Chippy have remained closed as they feel their business is a luxury that residents can go without.

Helen said: “We review it every week but we haven’t felt its essential, in our opinion a takeaway is a luxury.

“We didn’t want to be encouraging people to come out when we didn’t need to, even for the key workers James is doing it all by himself to minimise the risk.”

With much of the summer season set to be lost on the island due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Helen is trying to stay optimistic about the future.

She said: “We just don’t know what’s going to happen, a lot of the island businesses rely on a good summer to bankroll the winter.

“We’re trying not to think too far into the future, I think everybody is just trying to be optimistic.”

With a large elderly population on the island, Helen says Millport’s residents are doing all they can to protect their most vulnerable.

“Everybody is helping each other out, there’s a volunteer group on the island that I’m part of, we deliver prescriptions and other things.

“All the stores are doing free deliveries; everybody is doing as much as they can

“We’re lucky we’ve got a little bit more space here, we’re in a bit of a bubble because there’s not been a lot of cases on the island but you never known when that might change.”

Helen and her partner John had help from local courier Austen in delivering their stock for free in order to help with the lunches.