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Community cafe with a vintage tea-room feel celebrates its first year

PUBLISHED: 11:17 14 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:27 14 April 2018

Sylvia Bigg and Carol Kelly chink teacups to celebrate their community cafe's successful first year. Photo: Liz Coates

Sylvia Bigg and Carol Kelly chink teacups to celebrate their community cafe's successful first year. Photo: Liz Coates

Archant

By some miracle of preparation a seaside village hall transforms itself into an established looking cafe with vases of flowers and tinkling tea cups every Friday.

The Forget-Me-Not community cafe as All Saints Parish Hall in Scratby, is celebrating its successful first year.
Photo: Liz CoatesThe Forget-Me-Not community cafe as All Saints Parish Hall in Scratby, is celebrating its successful first year. Photo: Liz Coates

Even the parish council chairman Adrian Peck dons a pinny and weaves among the gingham covered tables setting down colourful crockery and chatting with diners.

Although it is only open for four hours from 10am to 2pm setting up starts much earlier and everything has to be cleared away for the next user group to roll out yoga mats or stage a children’s party.

The success of the Forget-Me-Not cafe at All Saints Parish Hall in Scratby has come as a surprise to everyone.

On some Fridays they have people queuing for tables and craning their necks to see the specials’ board.

The Forget-Me-Not community cafe as All Saints Parish Hall in Scratby, is celebrating its successful first year.
Photo: Liz CoatesThe Forget-Me-Not community cafe as All Saints Parish Hall in Scratby, is celebrating its successful first year. Photo: Liz Coates

For Sylvia Bigg, who runs it, it is all about creating a “proper” cafe as good as any established tea room, with care taken over every detail.

The 63-year-old has dressed the room with gingham and cheerful colours chiming with the flowery name.

Geoff Freeman, one of the hall’s trustees, said she had created a “lovely environment.”

“It is a great success and just over a year old now,” he said.

“It is down to the personal touch and the friendliness, there are even fresh flowers in the loo.

“We have people waiting for tables and we have had to add two more in the last few weeks.

“We are just amazed by its success. We just keep improving and improving all the time.

“The most important thing is the community, and keeping it together is paramount.”

The menu has evolved since the cafe opened but there is always a roast and all-day breakfast.

Mr Freeman said the hall, built six years ago, was always busy - proving wrong the naysayers who said they would have a white elephant on their hands.

Plans are in place to bring in a theatre-quality cinema screen for the summer, he said, showing family friendly films in the evening and something for grown-ups during the day.

Some seven people man the cafe and all profits are reinvested in the hall.

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