Much-loved tearoom shuts after 20 years and moves in to pub

Caroline and her former staff

Caroline and four of her former staff outside the tearoom before it's closure. Left to right: Kayla Pennell, Dorothy Matthews, Caroline Dwen, Sabrina Pennell, Tazmin Pennell. - Credit: Kayla Pennell

A business owner who has run a tearoom on Loddon High Street for more than 20 years is closing it to take on a new challenge.

Caroline Dwen opened Rosy Lee's Tearoom in 1999, and started 'with just a kettle' but leaves behind fond memories and a profound legacy in the community, which she hopes to take with her to the Angel Inn.

Mrs Dwen said: "Emotions haven't quite yet set in. I have had one or two customers come in crying which sets me off too, but I remind them that I am only going up the road to start an exciting new challenge.

"When I first opened I started with just a kettle, then we sold cakes and eventually big breakfasts and a variety of fish dishes too because I used to run the now closed fish mongers opposite Rosy Lee's, 'Another Kettle of Fish'."

Mrs Dwen ran a work experience scheme offering pupils from both Langley and Hobart schools a chance to work at the tearoom, while also employing young people from the area.

She has had several cases of employing three generations from the same family.

Former employee, Dorothy Matthews, said about the closing of the tearoom: "It is a sad end of an era, but Caroline needs less responsibility as she begins the early stage of retirement.

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"Five out of my six children have all worked for Caroline, and all love her dearly. She's so kind and caring and I wish her the best of luck.

"We will be coming in The Angel to see her, as will so many  other regular customers."

Mrs Matthews's daughter, Tamzin Pennell, 22, said: "Rosy Lee's was a massive part of my childhood memories. I imagined I would come back here one day, with maybe a family of my own."

Jo Butt, owner of the Angel Inn with husband Frank, said: "We have been friends with Caroline for over 20 years and Frank and I are very excited to welcome Caroline to our business, she is so fun and always makes me laugh."

Caroline at Angel

Caroline (centre) from Rosy Lee's Tearoom at her new home in the Angel Inn, smiling the backroom of the pub where she will be operating the new tearoom with pub owners Frank (left) and Jo (right) - Credit: Bruno Brown

Mr Butt added: "The continuity of inclusivity and sense of belonging in the community, which Caroline's legacy has established, we hope to continue. 'You say goodbye, we say hello'."

The Angel Inn opens its doors firstly as a café on Thursday, August 4 at 8am-4pm.

For more information about The Angel Inn, visit its website: www.theangelinnloddon.co.uk