RACHEL McMail and the team at Castlehill Vaults may be closing their doors but they intend on throwing the biggest thank you party Ardrossan has seen to thank their regulars.

After seven years Rachel, her uncle Chris and the team will not be renewing their lease on the pub, still known as Alfie’s to people in the town.

And while it breaks their hearts, they have decided it’s the right time to close the doors as Rachel fears the pub trade will suffer for a long time to come.

For the last seven years the family has ran the pub with Rachel’s late mum Annemarie working in the Princes Place pub.

“I am so grateful that I had the best teacher,” said Rachel, 26.

“Mum knew everything there was about the pub trade and I had been in and out since I was a baby. You learn quickly how much is involved and how much of an extended family you become part of.

“Since we lost mum in 2016 these people who drink in the bar have become more important than ever and we will miss them all.”

The pub is at the heart of the Ardrossan community, running buses to Celtic games and playing host to live music. Every weekend buses would leave to take supporters to the games with the fans watching matches if there were none close to home.

But Rachel, who is a healthcare support worker at the Louisa Jordan Hospital in Glasgow and uncle Chris and the team are not planning on going quietly and they are determined to host a send off that the town will remember for years to come.

“We know we can’t hold a party before we close officially in April but we are hoping to host a huge send off as soon as we are able to, either in the Civic Centre or somewhere close by,” said Rachel.

“I’ve been getting in touch with all our regulars, from the domino team to the people who get the buses to Celtic games, to let them know. I didn’t want them to find out any other way.

“These people have been loyal to us for years and we will miss them all so it seems only right that we have a great big party even if it’s a year down the line to see them for one last drink.”

Castlehill Vaults is up for lease from Rosemount Taverns at a cost of £20,000 a year.