ONE of the borough’s best known car dealerships

is to go into voluntary liquidation.

Carhill Car Sales ceased trading last Thursday after 33 years in business.

Last night, owner Liam Rafferty said he was devastated but has been overwhelmed by the “unbelievable support” he had had since the business closed

The family-run dealership was established in 1979 by Dan Rafferty and was run in recent years by his son Liam.

Liam (52) said: “I wish to thank all my customers who have supported me over the years and especially those who have called and send text messages since we closed last week.

“Last Thursday and Friday were the worst days of my life. I have received tremendous support by so many loyal customers and people in the trade and the community.”

He confirmed that seven full time staff have lost their jobs.

“We are victims of the worldwide recession and the economy. I tried to keep the business going for as long as I could but, despite the support of my bank, there was nothing I could do but close it.

“The only way I can describe it is that it’s like a death in the family. It’s the most terrible experience I’ve ever had.

“I have worked here since I have left school - that’s 33 years. Carhill Car Sales will now go into voluntary liquidation.

“The support from people has been unreal. One customer offered to loan me his life savings of £30,000 to start again.

“Other people in the trade offered to loan me cars to keep me going.

“My intention is to start up again once all this is settled. I’ll be back.”

Garvagh councillor and MLA, Adrian McQuillan said it was a “big blow” for the town to lose such an established business.

“It’s very sad to hear of the closure of a family business that has been here for a very long time.

“It’s a big blow and of course it means job losses for the people who worked there.”

According to the company website Carhill Car Sales specialised in 4x4 vehicles and a stocked a large range of quality used cars.

Carhill dealt with finance companies such as Black Horse, Santander and NIIB and attracted customers all over Northern Ireland.