Little Haven Hotel owner applauds outstanding staff for helping community

The staff at the seafront hotel went above and beyond to help families during the heavy rainfall after the Great North Run.

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The owner of iconic South Shields seafront hotel, Little Haven has praised his staff for going above and beyond to help families stuck in South Shields after the AJ Bell Great North Run, following heavy rainfall and flooding in the area.

Eamonn Gribben, who has recently taken over as owner of the hotel, decided to participate in the AJ Bell Great North Run 2023, alongside his friend and colleague Sarah Hegney.

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The pair decided to run for mental health charities, and it was Sarah’s very first time participating in the annual half-marathon event.

When returning to their place of work after the run, for something to eat and drink, Eamonn and Sarah along with other staff members of the Little Haven Hotel soon realised that they needed to help their community.

Due to the heavy rainfall that led to flooding in the South Tyneside area, a number of families and runners found themselves stuck for hours, despite best efforts to get home.

Staff at the Little Haven Hotel, which included Paul the Chef, Jess the Restaurant Supervisor, Alex the Manager, as well as Eamonn and Sarah, sprung into action to ensure families that were stranded were brought in to be sheltered, dry and fed.

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Despite Eamonn and Sarah being incredibly tired from the Great North Run, they worked incredibly hard to ensure the stranded families were comfortable.

Eamonn said: “There were tailbacks of vehicles, flooding all around due to the severe rain, and families that were in desperate need of support.”

Families that needed help according to Eamonn included a dad with three autistic children, and a family who had been stuck for six hours, whose children were hungry.

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“We managed to get all the families in, and we didn’t turn anyone away,” Eamonn explained.

He further explained that the staff worked tirelessly until 10pm at night to ensure the families were given towels to dry off, and were provided with food courtesy of the chef, Paul.

As Sarah works as a manager at Bedeburn Kindergarten, she had the experience of working with young children, and was able to keep them calm during the situation, even finding a quiet space for the children with autism who found the main area overwhelming.

Eamonn was full of huge praise for his staff as he said: “We used all the facilities we had, to keep people calm.”

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“The staff were unbelievable. Paul kept everyone fed, and Jess kept the staff morale up.

“I was very impressed with the staff and how dedicated and genuinely hard working they were. Not one took a break or even asked for one. It was remarkable.”

He added: “It was a difficult evening but it was a remarkable evening.”