Village toasts new lease of life

A SOUTH Carrick villager has stepped in to save his local pub - and help keep the area’s social life alive.

The King’s Arms Hotel in Barr saw its application for a drinks licence approved by South Ayrshire Council on Wednesday after a gap of nearly two years.

And by that evening, the ale was flowing again at the once-popular hostelry. It’s been described by new owner Kenny Lorimer as “an act of faith” by his family in the future of the village and he described his take-over of the hotel as being for “selfish” reasons.

Kenny and wife Paula are a popular local couple who have lived in Barr for the last 14 years. They and their four children all value the way of life in this small community and are determined that it should be preserved.

Kenny, originally from Cumnock, explained: “We have a vested interest in keeping the village alive and vibrant.

“I’ve lived in Ayrshire all my life and I’ve seen what happens when little villages lose their pubs. Without a pub, there is very little social life in a village, and Barr is a very social village.”

He described the knock-on effects of such closures as “scary” when it impacts on all aspects of village life.

“The houses go empty and can’t get sold. Then the viability of the schools come into question. It’s a real horror story and I said a long time ago that if Barr lost its pub it would go the same way.

“So I have done this for a lot of selfish reasons. I believe it’s important that we retain a community where we can bring up kids and keep the school viable. The last thing we want is a ghost village that no-one wants to move to.”

Kenny, a self-employed diver, will be continuing with his day job in the early period of his new venture.

He said: “I’m under no illusions that we’re going against the trend here.

“I’ve seen rural pubs closing down all over the place. But we’re in a slightly different position because we’re not doing this to make a big profit.

“Of course, that would be nice, but were here to try to provide Barr with an important facility. If we can just break-even while doing that, then so much the better.”