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A Faversham pub which was swamped by a tidal surge and then devastated by a chimney fire has reopened its doors less than two months on.
The Shipwrights Arms in Hollow Shore near Oare was struck by the worst flooding to hit Faversham in more than 60 years on December 5, and then suffered a fire just a few weeks later.
Owners Derek and Ruth Cole faced a £30,000 insurance claim and had to throw away carpets, furniture and possessions which they had lost when sea water flooded the pub.
But they said they were relieved to finally reopen after the community in Oare rallied to their aid.
Derek Cole said: “It’s very much a relief to get the pub open. It’s been a long hard haul, but worth it to see it back again.
“We’ve been running the pub for 16 years, and nothing like it had ever happened before. It’s a well known pub, a bit of an icon, so it’s good to see it back up and running.”
He added: “I think the insurance is going to be about £30,000. But now I’m hopeful for the future.
“It’s the sort of pub you run because you want to not because you have to. It’s a lovely old place, and great to keep it open as a traditional pub.
“It was the sort of thing I was told could only happen every 30 years. Hopefully we won’t have any more like this for at least another 30 years!”
Friends, patrons and local people rallied to support the pub. Mr Cole said: “My wife and I have been touched by the amount of help from our locals and regulars. The amount of people who rung up and said ‘what can I do?’ really restores your faith in human nature.
“Our customers have been brilliant. They have helped with everything, from putting up curtains to unpacking freezers.”
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