DAME Judi Dench added a touch of glamour to the opening of a farmer's café by popping in for a visit.

About 100 residents enjoyed sipping champagne with the actress at the Village Pantry, in Raskelf, near Easingwold.

Dame Judi cut the ribbon to officially open the café, which is the latest idea by enterprising farmers keen to diversify their interests.

Dame Judi, who originally hails from York, said she was "thrilled" to help as the owners are friends of her nephew who also lives in the village.

She said she saw it as a way to help the farming community who are going through some difficult times.

Dame Judi, who is taking a break from filming TV adaptation of The Cranford Chronicles, said: "I was happy to help because with the outbreak of foot and mouth disease it is an anxious time for farmers.

"I am sure that everybody who goes to the café will have a wonderful time because the food is absolutely delicious, the decor is beautiful and there are also animals for the children to see. As well as having some lovely produce at the village shop and now the café, it really makes for an interesting and pleasurable day out."

Dame Judi also spent some time in York before going off to the west coast of Scotland today.

Debbie Bell, 45, who runs the Village Pantry café ,said they could not have hoped for a better start to their new venture.

She said the café, which serves snacks, breakfasts, light lunches and afternoon teas, uses food produced by the farm.It includes pork from the speciality Oxford Sandy and Black pigs, free-range chickens and Yorkshire Dales beef.

A spokesman for Easingwold Tourist Information said: "We are happy to know that Judi Dench has supported a local business and we hope this provides it with the start it needs to prosper for many years to come.

"Dame Judi Dench has had an enormously successful career since her childhood in York and it is gratifying to know that she still can take time out of her busy schedule to support her local area."