LISTEN: Gavin Price gives his reaction to the news and where he thinks the recognition really belongs
At the start of the lockdown Gavin Price, owner of the Fountain Bar in Aberfeldy, gave what was left of his pubs stock away to vulnerable people in the community when it was announced that the country was going into lockdown.
After his first weekend more, and more, people became involved, soon other restaurants got involved which started Feldy Roo and resulted in some 40,000 free meals being delivered around the town.
Gavin says: “Ten businesses got involved in Feldy Roo, they did so with no knowledge of us getting the funding did, they came on giving whole hardheartedly their support, commitment, to provide meals not knowing they would be recompensed for that at some point.
“If that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be sitting speaking to you now about an MBE or the Fountain bar wouldn’t winning the British pub of the year, these things wouldn’t have happened if these businesses didn’t get involved.
“Likewise, there’s over one hundred volunteers involved in this project, again if they hadn’t done so the project wouldn’t have been possible. It goes without saying we wouldn’t be here speaking if these volunteers didn’t give their time selflessly given their time to do what they did.
“The list goes on, we put a funding team together, if they hadn’t been so good at their job we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
For Gavin, this award needs to recognise the hard work and effort from everyone involved saying he feels ‘slightly uneasy about it’ being an ‘individual award.’
In his words, ‘the awards are nice’ but for him ‘the important thing’ was ‘providing the service’ which Feldy Roo offered to the vulnerable people in Aberfeldy and its surrounding towns and villages.
As an experienced professional football player, coach and manager, Gavin see’s a connection between running both a sporting and delivery team.
Gavin said: “You’re used to managing a team at football, you’re used to trying to put people in the best positions if you like. You’ve got to know who’s the best striker and the best goal keeper.
“I guess that helps because when we put our team together you can recognise the qualities of certain people and we did really well.”
So much of the success lies in the team says Gavin, he adds: “Julie, for example, was involved right from the start and she’s such a good organiser so just left her to get on with organising certain things and we got the best out of that.
“And that’s it, you’ve got your funding team and you know they’re good at what they do and you’re in a position to get the best out of them and boy did they perform.
“We had George from the Co-Op that was amazing, him and his wife Shirley did the games and the raffles and I think, on their own, they raised around sixteen thousand pounds.
“Anita out in Grandtully she was excellent in pulling all that side together, and Wendy, Gordon that were brilliant likewise in Kenmore. You find the best people in the best areas to do it.
“And I certainly don’t mean to miss anybody in what I’m saying there, everybody played their part, and I suppose if you use the analogy of Football we found the best positions for the team to be in.”
Looking back Gavin see’s the success as being ‘a big jigsaw that came together really, really, easily.’
Having won the Great British Pubs 2020 Award, Aberfeldy’s community has decided how it wants to spend the £10,000 cash prize.
While the award was given to the Fountain Bar, Gavin wants to see that the reward goes back to the same people who helped get the community its recognition in the first place.
A poll on Facebook found that the majority of people want to see the fountain in the square at Aberfeldy back up and running again with commemorations of the massive community effort.
Gavin says: “We’re hoping to get that reinstated, with water flowing, maybe get some commemorative slabs around it telling the story of two thousand and twenty.
“The other option was to help with the Christmas lights through the square and, hopefully, in a bigger project through the whole town.
“And if there’s anything left over, I think in second place came the lights, so we would like to try and at least get the square done if we can.”