A CAFE owner has told how she was forced to close her business - just weeks after taking over the venture.

Beverley Callaghan took over the running of the popular Fintry Bay Café just weeks before lockdown was announced - but has praised the island community for supporting firms like hers through lockdown.

Beverley moved to Millport full time from Skelmorlie after having a holiday home on the island.

She says the local community spirit has shone through since March.

She said: “The island has really come together over the past few months.

“We’ve got a WhatsApp group where we all share information and ideas.

“There are two rules of business in Millport, keep it simple and don’t be greedy - and I think those guidelines are more important now than ever.”

Beverley added: "I’ve had a holiday home on the island for years and decided to take on the café, I’m not interested in making money, I just want to have a nice life here.

“I already knew a lot of people on the island but is has been an amazing move and the welcome from the business community has been fantastic.”

The new owner says the travel bans earlier this year saw a surge in tourists visiting the island.

Beverley said: “Sometimes it felt like half of Scotland had come to the island.

“We’re not as busy now but it’s mostly just locals which is nice because it gives me a chance to get to know people properly.”

Beverley has extended a generous offer to island business owners forced to close to come to the café for a free afternoon tea.

She says it was the right thing to do as the café has been allowed to keep trading while the island’s pubs and restaurants were closed.

She said: “I felt a bit guilty, I don’t really understand why we were allowed to stay open but not them.

“It just seemed unfair because we all have the same proper procedures in place and there is no difference between us.

“Most of my friends had to shut and I just wanted to give something back, it was the least I could do under the circumstances.

“I could have shut as well for the winter but a lot of people who live on their own use the café as a meeting place and I didn’t want to deprive them of that when I didn’t have to.”

The offer for island business owners will run until the end of October. To take part phone Beverley at the café on 01475 531073.