Mum who discovered talent for baking after quitting her job opens park cafe
- Credit: Ella Wilkinson
A mum with no previous experience in the world of cakes has followed her heart to open a bakery in Chantry Park, named in honour of her son who died just hours after birth.
Zoe Hayman-Cox worked in employment disputes for 17 years before stepping down to pursue other interests, such as baking — something she found she was naturally talented at.
The 41-year-old is now the proud owner of Sweet William's Bakery, which recently began operating out of the Chantry Park bowls club after several months of running from her kitchen.
"I've never known such generosity before," she said. "I've lived in Chantry for 11 years but never been a part of the local community because I was always working or travelling.
"I've got a bit of a following now because people are interested in my development and all my customers are very supportive.
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"People have donated outside furniture as I don't have the revenue for it yet and others have volunteered to come help serve because at the moment it's just me — they're really happy there's something here in the park for them."
It was a "do or die" moment for the bakery when Zoe realised she wouldn't keep up with orders from her home kitchen and needed to move into a bigger premises — however it was either a massive step forward or she'd have to start cutting bookings.
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Her only baking experience had been taking a sugar craft course, but now she whips up batches of cupcakes, gloriously decorated sponge cakes, brownies, blondies and every treat a customer could want, including afternoon teas.
She even has plans to turn the pavilion into a proper tearoom with covered seating outdoors for parties or large gatherings.
The name Sweet William's Bakery is in memory of Zoe's first child, who died in August 2017 after being diagnosed with the very rare condition Edwards Syndrome.
Doctors told her the baby would be unlikely to make it to term at her first scan and even if he did, he'd be unlikely to survive long.
Zoe and husband Tom felt the decision to cut the pregnancy short wasn't theirs to make and William reached his birth, but sadly died just two hours later.
The family were supported by the East Anglia Children's Hospice and bereavement nurses, who ensured they had time for their family to meet the baby.
A year later, in September 2018, the couple welcomed rainbow baby Emilia into the world.