TWO Riding Mill residents who were determined to bring good coffee and a friendly meeting place to their village have opened the doors to their new cafe.

Pamela Fry and Chris Trueman, who are next door neighbours, decided last year to open a cafe in Riding Mill, after deciding neither of them was ready to retire.

The concept was dreamed up on the way to the pub, but quickly became reality, and The Station Coffee House was officially opened on Saturday, April 7.

The pair said they hope the location, at the old Station House, below the premises of In Architecture Ltd, will be ideal for those passing to catch a train.

“Quite a lot of people who use the train walk to Riding Mill along the river and get the train or bus back to where they have come from,” said Chris.

“So we’re in the right location for that.

“We would like to think people would come along for things like knit and natter groups, if local business people want to meet, walking groups or groups of parents on the school run.”

Chris (60) has previously worked in a management role in a pub in Newcastle, but her long-held love of food and passion for cooking were an interest rather than a career before the pair launched their venture.

Meanwhile, 65-year-old Pamela retired from her job in the business sector of British Airways, on the Caribbean sales team, just a week before the new business opened.

As well as taking pride in the quality of their coffee – after many deliberations they settled on Pumphreys Italian roast – they also sell cakes, savoury pies, scones, sandwiches and salad boxes, the majority of which come from local suppliers.

And one thing they weren’t willing to budge on, despite a heavy price increase, was ensuring that all of the packaging for their products was compostable.

After Riding Mill lost its village shop in 2013, the friends thought a cafe would be an ideal addition to the village. In fact, they have already started to respond to villagers’ needs and have started stocking stamps.

“Riding Mill has got the village hall and everyone seems to attend things very well,” said Chris. “There’s a lot of support in the village for events that take place, and it’s nice to have a focal point where people can meet up.”

Pamela added: “People in the village have been really good; we’ve been overwhelmed by the support.”