Ipswich: Family re-open bakery after conman blow

Ipswich: A family is celebrating today after taking over a bakery shop.

Elevenses, in Nacton Road, Ipswich, closed down earlier this year after its owner fell victim to a conman.

Joanne Harris had to shut the bakery after just eight months in business, plunging herself and her staff out of work after she was duped into buying a non-existent insurance policy by James Clarke. When she went to make a �5,000 claim after a piece of equipment exploded, she discovered she had been conned.

Last month, the 31-year-old fraudster, of Kitchener Road, Ipswich, was jailed for 18 months for setting himself up as an insurance broker and selling fake insurance policies to unsuspecting customers.

But two months after the closure, the Edwards family, who worked for the bakery, have taken over the business and re-opened the shop, which they have renamed Edwards Family Bakery.

Alice Edwards, 38, husband Jonathan, 39, and daughter Naomi, 20, are all involved, while younger son, Owen, 17, who is a sixth former at Holywells High School, helps out on a part-time basis.

Mrs Edwards worked at the shop from the day it opened in January this year and later, in the summer, Jonathan joined. Naomi also worked there, until taking time off to have her baby, Chloe, who is just a few weeks old.

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“She gave birth on October 20, but she missed working here and she wanted to help,” said Mrs Edwards. “I start at 3am with my husband, because my husband does the bakery and I do the confectionery.”

Naomi then takes over and runs the shop from lunchtime, while her parents look after Chloe.

Jonathan worked for the railway for 18 years, but suffered a massive blow after he was made redundant from his purchasing manager post.

He spent 18 months looking for a job before landing one at the bakery. When that closed, the couple felt they ought to give it a go themselves.

“He didn’t want to go back on Jobseekers’ Allowance,” said Mrs Edwards.

“So many people said, ‘Why don’t you? You were doing the baking anyway.’”

Both she and her husband are trained as chefs, and met at catering college, so it looked like the ideal opportunity for them.

Mrs Edwards said: “You have got to take a risk sometimes.

“It gives you the incentive to work that bit harder because at the end of the day you are doing it for yourself and for your family.”

n Have you started up a business? Were you a victim of James Clarke’s scam? Call The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

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