A community café in Waterfoot has closed its doors, after one of the owners died.

The Old Library on Bacup Road has shut its doors after co-owner, Lynne Kemp, died on July 21 after a period of ill health.

The future of the business, which opened in 2017, is not yet known but it is hoped that it will reopen as a community café.

In a statement a spokesperson for the café said: “It's with a heavy heart that I write this - The Old Library Waterfoot café as you know it has shut its doors.

“The owners could no longer run it due to ill health and now sadly Lynne has passed away.

“Lynne, an amazing woman, built this café from the ground up through blood, sweat tears and sheer determination to make it the wonderful place it became.

“What happens next is in the hands of Rossendale Council and they have assured us it will reopen as a café.

“But from us at The Old Library Waterfoot café, we would like to thank all our customers for your loyalty over the last years.”

Margaret Robinson, who worked as both a volunteer and chef supervisor for five years, said its closure is a devastating blow for the community.

She said: “I am absolutely devastated for the local community and people we served. A lot of lonely and isolated people came through the doors, as they were comfortable here.

“Many people in the Facebook comments have told us how upset they are that it is not going to be there anymore.

“I know there has been some interest in people taking over. I hope the right person or people can take it over as a community café as that is what Waterfoot really needs.”

Many people have also been paying tribute to Lynne, who died aged 68 and ran the business with partner Martin Kemp.

Margaret said: “She was a driven woman who has a passion for the café. She had a heart for the community and wanted it to carry on.

“She [loved] Waterfoot and the people in the community.”

Customers have also paid tribute to the “special” and “admirable” woman.

One customer said: “We are very sorry to hear about Lynne, she was a very special lady to us. She will be sorely missed by us all.”

Another said: “I am so sorry to hear of Lynne’s passing.

“I had the pleasure of supplying cakes to the café and had great admiration for her and the team. Sending condolences to all of you.”

“She really was a lovely lady who was a credit to Rossendale,” said another. “Many condolences.”

The Bacup Road community café opened at the site of a former library, in October 2017.

In January, 2023, it was announced that the café would be managed by Rossendale Leisure Trust but this partnership ended at the end of June.

Lynne's funeral will take place at 11.40 am, at Accrington Crematorium on Burnley Road, on August 8.