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There with you: Fugitive Motel gives away its food to Royal London nurses after Coronavirus order to shut down

PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 March 2020

Bethnal Green's Fugitive Motel bar and kitchen giving away its food stock after closure order. Pictures: Adrienn@Laforance and Haydon Perrior

Bethnal Green's Fugitive Motel bar and kitchen giving away its food stock after closure order. Pictures: Adrienn@Laforance and Haydon Perrior

Adrienn@Laforance and Haydon Perrior

Two lifelong pals who were living the dream running their own bar and kitchen in Bethnal Green that had to close down because of Coronavirus decided to give away all their food stock that was left over.

Grateful public receving foodboxes from Fugitive Motel in Cambridge Heath Road. Pictures: Adrienn@Laforance and Haydon PerriorGrateful public receving foodboxes from Fugitive Motel in Cambridge Heath Road. Pictures: Adrienn@Laforance and Haydon Perrior

Liam Tolan and his ex-school chum David Burgess, both former rock band singers, got the government directive on Friday to shut their Fugitive Motel bar in Cambridge Heath Road along with the rest of the hospitality trade.

But they decided not to profit out of the crisis and, instead, opened their doors for the last time on Saturday to give away food boxes with fresh fruit, vegetables and bread after posting a notice on social media.

Then the pals took the rest of the food down to the Royal London Hospital for the nurses and NHS staff.

Food boxes and fresh fruit and veg piled up at Fugitive Motel ready to go off to Royal London Hospital. Pictures: Adrienn@ aforance and Haydon PerriorFood boxes and fresh fruit and veg piled up at Fugitive Motel ready to go off to Royal London Hospital. Pictures: Adrienn@ aforance and Haydon Perrior

“They were bowled over when we turned up with the food,” Liam told the East London Advertiser.

“We get lots of nurses and NHS staff who come in after their shifts and give them a discount under normal circumstances.

“The government said people must avoid pubs and bars. But we had geared up for weekend with a big stock of food when this landed on us.

Food boxes delivered to staff canteen at Royal London Hospital by Fugitive Motel. Pictures: Adrienn@Laforance and Haydon PerriorFood boxes delivered to staff canteen at Royal London Hospital by Fugitive Motel. Pictures: Adrienn@Laforance and Haydon Perrior

“We didn’t want to throw it away and decided to give it to key workers and the hospital staff.”

The Fugitive Motel was meant to be holding its monthly shuffleboard tournament tonight and its singsong club night this coming Saturday. All that has been put ‘on hold’ till after the pandemic crisis is over.

The closure order “made sense”, the pals decided, seeing the speed of the deadly virus spreading across the globe.

Fugitive Motel founders Liam Tolan (left) and lifelong pal David Burgess who gave all their food stock to nurses and community in the East End. Pictures: Adrienn@Laforance and Haydon PerriorFugitive Motel founders Liam Tolan (left) and lifelong pal David Burgess who gave all their food stock to nurses and community in the East End. Pictures: Adrienn@Laforance and Haydon Perrior

“It’s heart-breaking having to close after just nine months running our own bar,” Liam added. “Hopefully it’s temporary, but we realise how serious it is after Italy and Spain went into lock-down.”

The give-away has cost the business at least £1,000. But they have no regrets with their philanthropic goodwill, especially when they heard about one restaurant chain actually selling off its food stock—including the butter normally served up free at the table.

Leon, who had commuted to Bethnal Green from his home in Leyton, used to sing and play guitar with the former Light Assembly rock band. David, from Stoke Newington, sang with the Brights band.

Their gesture to the nurses at the Royal London was a way of giving something back to the community that had made their dream of running their own bar come true.

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