Ipswich gran 'who always had a twinkle in her eye' honoured with cafe name

Willy's and Milly's in Ipswich has been named after Audrey Abbott. 

Willy's and Milly's in Ipswich has been named after Audrey Abbott. - Credit: Alison Finch

Willy's and Milly's cafe in Ipswich has been given a new name to honour the owner's kind-hearted grandmother.

For Alison Finch, spending time eating out with grandmother Audrey Abbott was a highlight of her childhood and it was this shared pastime that inspired her takeover of Willy's and Milly's. 

And now she has decided to rebrand the cafe in her grandmother's honour - the Northgate Street coffee shop is now known as Audrey's.

Describing their lunch dates, Mrs Finch said: "It's something mum has now done with my child."

She hopes the sentimental meaning behind the new name will help add a personal feel to the eatery.

"There is something personal about independent cafes and we're trying to bring that in here.

"It's nice to get that personal experience and we take our time to talk to customers. They're not just a number."

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She knows her gran, who died in January 2018 aged 93 after having dementia, would have been "mortified" by the name change as she hated attention. 

Mrs Finch said: "She was always helping everybody. She had a twinkle in her eye. 

"Always quiet and never had a bad word to say about anyone. She just got on with everyone."

Mrs Abbott had been very active in the Chantry community and volunteered with several different groups and services. 

She ran the over 60 clubs at St Francis Church for several years, collected for Christian Aid and went to Sprites School to listen to the children reading. 

"She was always active with the church and school," Mrs Finch added. 

Mum Mrs Finch and husband David took over the cafe from former owners, Judith and Steve Weale, in July after they had successfully run the business for 10 years.

Mrs Finch is balancing the cafe with being corporate director one day a week at Cephas, where she used to work full time. 

"We know now is not really the time to make life changing decisions but we just decided to go for it," she added. 

She has only made minor changes so far to the cafe and plans to broadly keep it the same. 

"We are trying to go in and build on the previous owners and people do not have to think something crazy would happen," Mrs Finch added. 

"They're used to seeing me bake cakes now and getting used to us. We're just updating the place."