The owners of Cottesmore Hotel, Golf and Country Club which was seriously damaged by fire on Monday have vowed to rebuild the business as soon as possible.
All guests and staff were safely evacuated when a blaze ripped through the 21-bedroom property in Pease Pottage, West Sussex, destroying the health club, kitchen, function rooms and bar. The bedrooms also suffered partial damage.
The club's 27 holes of golf and seven self-catering lodges were unaffected and remain open for business.
Johnny and Louisa Porter took over the running of the business in 2013 from Louisa's father Matthew. Over the past five years they have extensively developed the property and were just months away from completing a total refurbishment of the hotel, health club and function rooms.
Johnny Porter, who works as the hotel's general manager, said that the family were devastated by what had happened, but were relieved that no one was hurt and are now committed to rebuilding "a bright new future" at Cottesmore.
He thanked the "overwhelming support" received from members, guests, friends and family and added: "We feel desperately sad for all of the weddings booked in this year. They are all being contacted to arrange a full refund.
"Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation goes out to our staff, who rose to challenging conditions with great courage, and to both the West Sussex and Surrey Fire and Rescue services, whose professionalism and dedication is exemplary.
"The golf course is in superb condition and we want to get members and visitors out there as soon as possible. And we have guests in the self-catering lodges right now, that's business as usual."
Cottesmore golf club was opened by Michael Rogerson, a retired school teacher and his farmer son Matthew, after transforming former farm buildings in 1973.
The hotel development began in 1983, with later additions made in 1992, 2002 and 2007.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is investigating the cause of the blaze.
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