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INTERVIEW: One last push as much-loved Lancaster healthy eating cafe and shop aim to 'Raise for the Roof'

Jack Taylor, Tricia Rawlinson and Sam Darwin from the Whale Tail Cafe in Lancaster

Staff at two mainstays of Lancaster's healthy eating and cultural life are calling for one last push in their campaign for a new roof.

The team at the Whale Tail Cafe and Single Step Wholefoods are closing in on their £40,000 fundraising target for vital roof repairs to their building to safeguard its future.

The Whale Tail vegetarian and vegan cafe is located on the first floor of an old cheese warehouse on Penny Street, with the Single Step shop below them on the ground floor.

The two businesses were pioneers in healthy eating when both opened in the 1970s and have built a huge following over the years.

And they thanked their shared customer base for their support of the Raise for the Roof campaign, which has so far raised more than £33,000.

LISTEN to our interview with Tricia Rawlinson from the Whale Tail Cafe and Chris Newton from Single Step Wholefoods

"Everybody knows the Whale Tail and Single Step as one entity," said Chris.

"It's a very old building...a lot of people such as myself would come here when we were younger, and that was at a time when you couldn't get plant-based foods, veggie and vegan stuff, in the mainstream.

"I think it's nostalgic for a lot of people. The Whale Tail means a lot not only to us, but our customers. It's more than just a cafe, it's community.

"We thought we'll just ask our customers, and we came up with Raise for the Roof and we'll throw everything at it. We've had storytelling nights, wine tasting evenings, we've got a regular quiz night, we've had gigs, we've had disco nights, jumble sales...it's been quite a nine month effort but we've been absolutely blown away by the support we've received.

"I think Lancaster will always need a place like this. I'm so glad that people have been so supportive of our campaign to safeguard these two institutions."

Will Shelmerdine is pictured below with the Raise for the Roof fundraising totaliser

Tricia Rawlinson, who has run the Whale Tail for 32 years, said: "While we (and Single Step) are not part of the same business, we do share the same ethics, values and customers.

"We've got a little push to go now. We also have £8,500 of repointing on the gable walls which has put the price up. I have to pay my staff when we're closed probably for two or three weeks.

"It's been unbelievable. I can't thank enough the staff members who have worked for free to staff the events we've put on. They are not just employees, they are family. I'm so grateful."

She also thanked customer Barrie Marshall, who recently made a £10,000 donation to the appeal.

"Barrie used to come in when I first started here 32 years ago, and would play music in the cafe and night-time," she said.

"He's a lovely man and he's even better than I thought he was, now!"

Read more: Delight at generous customer's £10K donation towards Lancaster cafe roof repair bid - Beyond Radio

Tricia is pictured below with Chris and Will

The fundraising page can be found HERE.

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