COUNTY NEWS: Railway buffet owner ‘overwhelmed’ by customer generosity after strikes

The struggling owner of a railway buffet decimated by strikes said she feels ‘overwhelmed’ by the outpouring of public support she has received.

Last week, Carol Ritchie, who runs Ritchie’s Buffet in Angmering railway station, told the Gazette that she feared she would lose her house because the rail strikes had ruined her business. Click here for the full story.

Carol Ritchie at Angmering railway station. Picture: Steve Robards

Carol Ritchie at Angmering railway station. Picture: Steve Robards

A video on the Gazette Facebook page was viewed more than 11,000 times and attracted the attention of Shaun Adams, who runs Cooper Adams Estate Agents in East Preston.

He set up a Just Giving page for Carol that has raised more than £500 in less than a week.

Carol, 57, from Winchester Road, Rustington, said she has also been given money by her customers – including £5 from a teenager and £200 from a charitable commuter.

Carol said he is ‘always running late for his train’, but because she knows his order ‘I always manage to get the tea in his hands’.

Carol Ritchie with Shaun Adams at Angmering railway station. Picture: Steve Robards

Carol Ritchie with Shaun Adams at Angmering railway station. Picture: Steve Robards

She went on to say: “The man ran up to me and gave me a sealed white envelope and said ‘this is for you, because you always make sure I get my tea’.

“I asked what it was, and he said ‘open it and see. You are a nice person, you deserve it’ and then ran back to his car.

“When I opened it I was like ‘oh wow’ in front of my colleague – I got all teary because I was overwhelmed with kindness.”

The grandmother of six was also asked by her customer Mike to do a cold buffet for his daughter Shanice’s wedding.

Carol said she wanted to ‘thank all the wonderful people that have helped raise money’ and that she was ‘really, truly grateful to them all’, including Shaun, who had ‘put a smile back on my face’.

She said she would use the money to help pay her taxes and her rent.

Shaun, 48, from Worthing, set up his business in 2004. He said Carol’s story ‘pulled on his heartstrings’.

“When she said on the video she was losing sleep at night, that is awful.

“I know that running any business has its ups and downs and when I first started, the first few years were really tough.

“Even if people do not donate, this might make them think twice and buy a coffee from Carol. It would really help her out, and she is such a genuine person.

“It is all about karma; if you help other people you will get it back some day.”

To donate, click here.

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