A CAFE owner 'went large' to honour NHS staff by using a billboard to show his appreciation.

Marco Medinelli, who has run the popular Esplanade Cafe for 30 years, says many of his customers work at Inverclyde Royal and he wanted to salute them for their heroics during the coronavirus crisis.

The blue NHS thank-you sign now has pride of place at the prominent hoardings beside Marco's cafe adverts on the corner of Campbell Street and the main road at Brougham Street.

The businessman says that he appreciates what the hospital workers do all year round and gives them special deals whenever they come in.

Marco, 55, said: "We have a good relationship with nurses who work at G North and on other wards too.

"They are really good customers during normal times and come in for breakfasts and at lunchtime.

"We like to give them special deals.

"We wanted to thank them, not just at this time but for everything they do all year round.

"I know people are putting rainbows in their windows but we thought we would just make it a bit more 'out there', as we have a good relationship with them."

The popular family business has been running for 80 years and recently re-opened to the public, with hours gradually stepped up.

Marco said: "In our first week we had limited opening and it went well.

"People are behaving themselves and queuing outside and only two customers are allowed in at one time."