To say the end of the deli at Rattle Ghyll’s first year has been dramatic would be putting it mildly.

The coronavirus pandemic could have spelled real danger for owners Claire and Alec McCarthy, who have run the cafe at the site on Rydal Road, Ambleside over the last seven years.

However, they managed to find a new way of serving their community, which is extremely grateful for the help and hard work they and the deli’s staff have put in over the last three months.

During the lockdown, they changed their stock to cater for demands and began to open seven days a week, rather than the usual five.

They managed to provide customers with baking essentials they were struggling to get hold of in supermarkets, such as yeast, eggs, and flour, while also providing a home delivery service to people who were self-isolating, including boxes of fresh vegetables that came from a local supplier.

All of this while Claire and Alec were taking turns at looking after Adelaide, their three-year-old daughter.

Claire McCarthy said: “A lot of older people who were used to getting their Tesco delivery couldn’t get that because Tesco were obviously inundated.

“We couldn’t just leave those vulnerable people abandoned and, with a bit of thought, we worked out how we could do it and with the help of the parish council we got a bunch of volunteers lined up to go out and help people.

“It was a bit of a community effort and we’ve had a lot of customers telling us they’ve got friends down south or in other parts of the country that are really jealous.

“For us, it’s quite nice they’ve got that sense of ownership about the deli kind of being theirs as well.”

Despite the difficult times, the deli continued to serve their customers with a friendly greeting and a smile that helped raise shoppers’ spirits.

Lockdown measures have started to be eased in the past month, but Rattle Ghyll are continuing with some of the special services that have brought envious glances from elsewhere.

“We’re still doing our deliveries, although that has dropped off a little bit because people are feeling more confident in going out,” Claire McCarthy said.

“What we have done, though, because people are so sick of their own cooking, we’ve upped our takeaway menu in the deli and we’re doing a lot of things we used to do in the cafe.”