Change is on the menu as cafe manager leaves

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The retiring manager of some of Horsham’s most popular cafes has thanked local girls and boys for helping her serve loyal customers for 15 years.

Pam Collins is leaving management of Southwater Country Park’s Lakeside Teas this September after a decade and a half - during which time she also managed Horsham Park’s Conservatory cafe for eight years, and the Warnham nature reserve cafe for two years.

But the Washington resident - who is moving to Portugal - is modest about her role in the community.

“I never thought of it as providing a huge service but if I think about it, I have watched locals grow from babies to teenagers doing this job.

“I want to say a huge thank you to the loyal staff that have worked so hard, without them I couldn’t have done it.”

The quaint cafe deserves a whole new meaning for the term ‘regular’ - there is even a memorial bench for one man called George who walked to the cafe every day for a rock cake.

“I’m sure a lot of people will remember the winter when the extension was being built and we had to work out of a portable cabin,” Pam recalled. “People still came in. It really wasn’t the most pleasant of places to sit but they endured it and we all joke about it now because it shows what people will do to get a cup of tea and a piece of cake. “

Pam built up the business from the stage where she could run for an entire weekend with just eight mugs, two loaves of bread, a Victoria sponge, and an apple pie, but care has been taken to keep the cafe’s character.

“The cafe might need some modernisation but we get muddy cyclists and soaking wet kids straight from the lake here. It has to keep its friendly atmosphere so everybody knows they’re are welcome. That’s its unique character.”

A HDC spokesperson said it would be pleased to hear from users of any ideas for the cafe.