A family who travel from Scotland a couple of times a year to visit Thomas the Baker’s Yorkshire-based stores has been given a special VIP tour of the firm’s bakery in Helmsley.
Gordon and Gemma Herbertson and their daughter Kimberley, 7, who live in Glasgow, are such big fans of Thomas the Baker they’ve taken their holidays around York for the last seven years so they can visit several of the company’s stores while sightseeing in the area.
During a typical holiday they’ll visit a Thomas the Baker store once or twice a day.
The family have now visited Thomas the Baker stores in Scarborough, Thirsk, Ripon, Helmsley, Knaresborough, Beverley and the two in the centre of York.
Family-owned Thomas’ has 30 outlets across Yorkshire, with the closest being more than 170 miles from the Herbertson’s Glasgow home.
Heading to York for a recent holiday, the family got in touch to ask if there was any chance of seeing where the products were made.
As a special treat the company’s quality assurance manager Chris Chapman spent two hours showing them round the firm’s Helmsley bakery.
Gordon said the family became quickly hooked on Thomas the Baker shops, with visits now an integral part of their holidays to Yorkshire.
"After our summer holiday we took home nine steak bakes, seven fat scamps and a cherry scone to freeze, and several more to eat fresh over the few days after we got home," he said.
"We have to ration them to last until our next trip to Yorkshire as we only have a small freezer!
“It was a real privilege to see the bakery.
"Chris Chapman took two hours out of a busy day to show us how the bakery works.
"We will never see so many cheese straws in one place again and Kimberley loved seeing how the ovens rotate and seeing all the fat scamps being completed.
"Everyone was busy and cheerful and there’s a real family atmosphere."
Daughter Kimberley says her favourite food is Thomas’ Steak Bake – and the family take as many home as they can fit into their freezer to enjoy in between visits.
Kimberley even chooses to have a Thomas’ Steak Bake for her Christmas and birthday meals, and has taken her love of it to school, with a hand drawn picture of her ‘favourite thing’ hanging from the ceiling in her classroom.
Dad Gordon is a fan of Chelsea Buns and the Fat Scamps, which are a cross between a cake and a scone, whereas mum Gemma goes straight for the date and walnut scones.
Chris Chapman from Thomas the Baker said: “We were delighted to show the Herbertson family round our bakery – how could we refuse when they’re our biggest fans?
"It was lovely to meet them and to show them how some of their favourite products are made.
"It was also great to be able to tell Gordon we’d started making his favourite Fat Scamps again – we’d discontinued them in 2014 but had so many requests we’d recently brought them back!”