There are always many more treats than tricks when the children of Stapleford go round to Maureen Beresford’s house for Halloween.
But now it’s the end of an era because grandmother Maureen, affectionately known as The Cake Lady, has hung up her apron and turned off her oven to bring to an end her annual ritual.
For more than 20 years, Maureen has been baking and decorating cakes, cookies and gingerbread men at her home on Brookhill Street. And local youngsters, dressed in their Halloween costumes, have lapped it up.
“It all started when Halloween first became popular in this country,” said Maureen. “I had young grandchildren at the time, while kiddies started to come round, tricking or treating, so I decided to bake some cakes and decorate them.
“I did cobweb cakes, hedgehog cakes, pumpkin cakes and gingerbread men, and the whole thing has grown ever since. I even started doing mince pies for the mums and dads.
“Each year it increased, to the point where I had 191 children and 61 parents visit me this year.”
However, at the age of 77, this was also The Cake Lady’s Halloween farewell. She explained: “Five years ago, I lost my husband, Jeffrey, who used to help with things like the washing-up, and last year, I had a fall and broke my hip, which has made it hard, standing for hours on end baking. It really took it out of me, so I decided this year would be my last.
“It has been an absolute joy, and the pleasure has been all mine, even though it has been hard work. The looks on the kiddies’ faces were always amazing.”
News of Maureen’s retirement brought a host of tributes to her on Facebook, and also from Stapleford councillor Richard MacRae, who said: “I would like to say a massive thankyou to Maureen for her hard work and dedication, which has been much appreciated by so many local people.
“It has been really kind and throughtful what this lady has done, so it was very sad to hear it was her last year.”