"I HAVE not grafted for four-and-a-half years to go under," said Kerry Wheldrake, whose cafe is now operating as a take-away.

Wheldrakes, in Goodramgate, is offering a selection of food and drinks, such as bacon and sausage sandwiches, toasties, hot and iced coffees, cakes, ice-cream milkshakes, and Italian ice-cream, along with specially-made weekend picnic boxes.

Kerry who runs the business with her husband Tony and daughter Leah, 17, said the lockdown had been 'a shock' initially. Then they decided to reopen on May 9 to test the water.

"We have tried to keep the risk as minimal as possible so we have a table in the doorway with a perspex screen. It has built up from there through word of mouth. A good 80 per cent of customers are regulars. I am a big believer that if you offer quality produce you get a loyal clientele."

Wheldrakes uses local suppliers, including Johnson's of Terrington for eggs and York butcher Ged Bell for ham, dry-cured back bacon, sausages, pork pies and sausage rolls.

"This provides a living, but than anything, I love what I do," added Kerry, who bakes daily.

She said they could survive as a take-away but would struggle to reopen as a cafe if they had to halve their usual capacity and rush customers to achieve enough turnover.

"At the end of the day I don't want my business to fold. That's why we decided to reopen. As long as it's paying bills, it's nice to be supporting the community and get businesses back open. I am hoping other businesses will manage to open as well. These are worrying times."

Wheldrakes is promoting its new service through The Press Supporting Local Businesses campaign which has offered free adverts to help local businesses.

Wheldrakes is open from 10am to 4pm daily, except Wednesday.