South Queensferry cafe The Ravenous Beastie owner Moira Cunningham's funeral to be held next week

Family of well-loved cafe and b&b owner Moira Cunningham said she ‘poured heart and soul’ into the community.

Tributes have poured in for a popular cafe owner who “poured her heart and soul” into the community she was part of.

Moira Cunningham, who ran The Ravenous Beastie in South Queensferry, died on December 23 aged 68 and her family are now inviting the local community to attend her funeral next Friday.

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When she died, Moira had been running the popular cafe for over two decades, having opened the business in 1997. Her niece Joni said she hopes people will line the high street to create a fitting send off for Moira, who she described as a ‘true ambassador’ for the local community.

Tributes have poured in for Moira Cunningham

She said: "It was heartbreaking when we found out my aunt had died. We had all got together as a family the week before and I’m thankful that we got the chance to do that. Moira was a true ambassador and adopted South Queensferry as her home. I always say she created her own fairy tale. She worked so hard. It wasn’t just a cafe, it was a place where everyone was welcome to come in for a chat. It was also a right of passage for more than one hundred young people who worked in the cafe. Moira was an incredible mentor. My daughter who is now 16 worked there for a bit. The place always had a strong family element. But Moira’s personality always shone through.”

Moira who moved to the town in the 1990s was delighted to find out that she wasn’t the first in her family to forge a strong connection with the area. Her great, great grandfather worked on the construction of the Forth Rail Bridge. She was well known for supporting local events the Burryman, Ferry Fair, lights switch on and the Loony Dook.

But Joni said the heart of her legacy is The Ravenous Beastie. Despite being hit hard by Covid, Moira worked hard to recover the business and had increased her bookings by a quarter coming out of the pandemic. It’s now temporarily closed while the family takes stock of what its future will look like.

Joni added: "It was a testament to her determination that she kept it going and weathered the storms. She was always fierce, bold and her life spilled over into the place. She poured her heart and soul into it. She never pretended it was a perfect, five star place. It was quirky. And every little thing she did seemed to grow legs or helped create something. Once she had burnt a sausage and gave it to a dog. After that she’d get people coming in for dog treats.

“Moira was so passionate about the community. We’re grateful to everyone for all the messages and support. I hope people will come along and line the streets ahead of the funeral. We can create a sort of memory lane. That would mean a lot to her.”

The funeral cortege will travel through the High Street from midday, pausing at The Ravenous Beastie and then the Hawes Inn and a service will be held at West Lothian Crematorium at 1pm.

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