It is with great sadness that I report that Johnshaven's most iconic building was destroyed by fire last night. Built as a church around 1850, it has more recently been used for the building and repairing of boats.
Anyone who has visited the village in the last year or so will probably have seen Richard's latest boat at various stages of production - it's an absolute work of art. Seeing it gradually taking shape makes you really appreciate the skill involved in boat building.
Since it became too large to work on it inside, the boat has been kept outside the building and, remarkably, seems to have escaped any fire damage. Sadly, the building itself and all Richard's tools and materials will have been destroyed.
I don't know the cause of the fire or whether what remains of the building can be saved. It is a real local landmark, and is the building that features most prominantly on just about every painting I've ever seen of the village.
At Hogmanay this is where the villagers gather to hear the bell on top ring in the New Year.
Our thoughts are with Richard today. I can't imagine how he must be feeling.