Why Grasmere Gingerbread® said ‘yes’ to teenage Amy…

Amy Arey impressed the Grasmere Gingerbread shop

A LETTER and telephone interview earned a teenage girl a rare work placement at the prestigious 164-year-old Grasmere Gingerbread Shop in the Lake District.

“I never usually take on students for work experience because of the restricted size of our shop and the sheer intensity of our daily work routine,” explained Joanne Hunter, co-owner of the historic family business.“But I said ‘yes’ to Amy Arey because her go-get attitude, enthusiasm and determination really impressed me.”

The 15-year-old, currently studying GCSEs, has long held ambitions to run her own bakery.

After numerous holidays to Grasmere and with family connections to Windermere, Morecambe and Lancaster, the Dorset teenager was eager to see behind the scenes at Grasmere Gingerbread®.

An impassioned letter to Joanne and a successful telephone interview won her a surprise work placement.

“She just won me over,” explained Joanne, “so I offered her a week in the business.”

For Amy it was a dream come true.

“I’ve always loved the shop as my family have been bringing me here since I was a baby,” said Amy.

“The thing that really surprised me was how everything is absolutely non-stop! I got to cut the gingerbread into pieces, wrap it and put it into tins, serve customers in the shop, work the till and help to prepare the boxes for wedding favours.

“I was really nervous before I started but everyone was just so friendly and they all made me feel so welcome.”

Joanne admitted that Amy had more ‘oomph’ about her than many university graduates she has interviewed for positions over the last few years.

“Amy organised her own transport and accommodation and threw herself into the business,” she said.

“She was hard-working, fun and popular with the staff and customers. It was such a delight to meet a young girl with such personal drive and ambition.”

Amy has now returned to school with boosted social skills and some fantastic knowledge and experience about retail life.

“Cumbria has always felt like my second home. I want to own my own bakery one day or at least work somewhere like the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop when I’m older,” she added.