Big-hearted breakfast

People in one village near Daventry don’t need to feel guilty about tucking into a full English breakfast, as they know they are helping to raise thousands of pounds every year for their church.

The Byfield Breakfast Club helps raise money for the upkeep and repair of the parish church while providing a place for all members of the village community and beyond to meet and chat. And of course it’s a good excuse to sit down to a full English breakfast for just £6 for adults.

Byfield breakfast, Byfield village hall

Byfield breakfast, Byfield village hall

The club was set up five years ago in January 2009, and on that first Saturday some 100 people came along to enjoy the food.

These days the breakfast club gets around 170 to 180 people, raising about £500 to £600 every time.

Chef Tim Williams said: “There are about 15 volunteers who come along to run the breakfast club; some stay the whole time, others for a few hours.

“The team is fantastic. We’ve been doing it now for so many years we all know exactly what needs doing and how to do it – we’re a well-oiled machine!

“Pretty much all the volunteers are church members, but we get people coming along to eat who aren’t even from Byfield. People regularly drive here for the breakfasts from Daventry or further, and we quite often get people stopping by like cyclists or walkers after seeing the signs.

“The club started because Holy Cross needed all sorts of work because it had a list of problems – damp rot, dry rot, deathwatch beetle, and more.

“The damage needed sorting out, and that meant raising money. One of the ideas was the breakfast club.

“After those problems were sorted out the church needed new heating to keep the damp out, then the lighting was pretty much condemned, Then we had more things that needed to be fixed.

“The latest push is to get a toilet and servery for the church.

“In all, over the five years we’ve been running the club has raised £17,000.”

Breakfasters get egg, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, beans and fried bread for £6.

John Tompkins from Byfield is one of the club’s regulars. He said: “I’ve been coming here for a long time. My wife doesn’t have breakfast, so I come here and get a full cooked one.

“The breakfast club has become a focal point for the community. It brings a lot of families along.”

Ruth Jeacock was tucking into some scrambled eggs, made using eggs from Staverton’s Sky Lark farm. She said: “I’ve been coming here for breakfast since it started.

“I come whenever the weather is good enough – I use a scooter so I don’t like to come out if it’s raining!

“It’s a lovely breakfast, they cook it very well. I enjoy coming along and meeting all the different people.”

The Byfield Breakfast Club runs next this Saturday, March 1, from 9am to 1pm in Byfield Village Hall.