‘I couldn’t turn down a challenge’
Jane Malyon, 64, owns englishcreamtea.com and lives with her husband, Roger, 65, in Essex.
‘We wondered if you wanted to set a world record,’ said the man on the phone. The call, in July 2011, had come out the blue, and I was stunned to say the least. Yet Guinness World Records [GWR] wanted to know if I’d be willing to host the biggest-ever traditional cream tea.
It was only a few months since I’d set up my online gift service, The English Cream Tea Company, and we were just a tiny start-up. Then again, I loved a challenge, so I phoned back and agreed.
‘Can I just confirm what I’ve signed up for?’ I asked. What exactly did they mean by the largest cream tea? Would I have to bake an enormous scone? Or serve to thousands of people?
To my relief, they explained it would be a brand-new record – so I’d be gathering as large a group as possible, and serving them tea and scones with jam and cream, and meringues, which they’d need to enjoy simultaneously in one location. The challenge was on!
Thankfully, local businesses helped: a nearby wedding venue, Parklands, let us use a marquee, and Harlow catering college baked 700 scones for us.
GWR set the date for 15 November 2011, so to add to our nerves, my husband Roger and I were jet-lagged from a pre-booked trip to Las Vegas.
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