Carfraemill anniversary raises cash for charity

Carfraemill owner Jo Sutherland, left, and general manager Susan Thorburn celebrate 20 years at Carfraemill.
Carfraemill owner Jo Sutherland, left, and general manager Susan Thorburn celebrate 20 years at Carfraemill.

A Borders couple celebrating 20 years in charge of one of the region’s biggest hotels has marked the occasion by raising £12,800 for charity.

Jim and Jo Sutherland, owners of the Carfraemill hotel near Lauder, turned back the clock to celebrate with a vintage tea party in aid of Marie Curie.

Carfraemill celebrates 20 years in business by raising more than �12,000 for Marie Curie.

Carfraemill celebrates 20 years in business by raising more than �12,000 for Marie Curie.

It’s two decades years since the couple not only took over the hotel but also controversially served up beef on the bone in defiance of government regulations at that time.

Now, 20 years on, a less controversial and more celebratory event, enjoyed by 320 guests and supported by Carfraemill’s suppliers and neighbouring Lauder businesses, raised £12,800 for the cancer care charity.

Former teacher Jo and Jim, a sheep farmer at nearby Hillhouse Farm, are long-term supporters of Marie Curie, with the latter also being the mastermind behind a machine which helped plant thousands of daffodils at the charity’s field of hope at the Borders General Hospital at Melrose.

The couple’s daughter Ruth Sutherland, who also works at the 24-bedroom hotel, said: “We have held events almost every year in aid of the charity – craft fairs, balls, ceilidhs and now the vintage tea party. This smashed our £8,000 target.

Tony Kearns is kept busy at the 20th anniversary celebration.

Tony Kearns is kept busy at the 20th anniversary celebration.

“Lots of people thought my parents were totally mad when they took it on, but, 20 years later, it’s clear that they figured out how to make a success of things in a notoriously tough business to get right.

“That has been down to fantastic staff, outstanding local food producers and suppliers and an incredible amount of hard work.”

The hotel employs more than 40 staff and has hosted in excess of 400 weddings plus countless more meetings, conferences, parties, fundraisers balls and ceilidhs.

Its milestone is shared with Susan Thorburn, the hotel’s general manager, one of the first to join its staff back in 1997.