Darlington-based bakery the Great Northern Bakehouse has worked with Marie Curie to send its artisan Battenburgs to 73 sites across the UK in support of its Blooming Great Tea Party campaign.

The gluten-free Battenburgs are being supplied to retailers of premium kitchen brand Franke across the country to help them hold tea parties in their showrooms to raise money for the charity, which provides care and support for people living with terminal illness.

Ian Cross, managing director of the Great Northern Bakehouse, said this was a big deal for the company. “Quite apart from the fact the Marie Curie tea parties are a worthwhile cause, it’s a marker of how far we have come since our business came into being in January.”

The business was formed following the liquidation of Olivia’s Artisan Bakery in December 2016. Thirteen members of staff feared for their jobs, but a group of investors bought the assets from Olivia’s, re-employed the staff and created the Great Northern Bakehouse.

The new business has focused on supplying artisan breads to hotels and restaurants across the North East and North Yorkshire and the workforce has increased from 13 to 19.

The contract to supply Franke kitchen retailers came about after Franke’s PR agency, Darlington-based The Connection, got in touch after becoming aware of the story surrounding the bakery.

“In six months we’ve taken a failing business and created something that is now on an even keel and keeping 19 people in work,” Cross added. “We’re proud of what we’ve achieved in such a short time and we’re equally proud of the quality of our cakes and breads.

“The whole workforce has got behind the project and thoroughly enjoyed creating our own version of the Battenberg.”