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2nd Jul, 2022

Tea with a difference at Croome Court

Malvern Editorial 28th Mar, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A CATERING outlet with a difference is set to open at a National Trust property near Malvern this weekend.

An original Second World War tea car has been restored back to its former glory and will serve visitors to Croome Court drinks and snacks in time for Mother’s Day this Sunday (March 30) and for the foreseeable future.

The van, affectionately called Bertha, once toured around a wartime airbase – which was once on the grounds at Croome – where ground crews from the Royal Air Force were working.

Such vehicles were provided and staffed by organisations such as NAAFI (Navy, Army and Airforce Institution), YMCA Young Men’s Christian Association), WVS (Women’s Voluntary Service) and parish church groups.

The restored vehicle will provide the historic building and parkland with an atmospheric addition to the 1940s style restaurant located in Croome’s visitor centre.

Jayne Bosley, Croome’s catering manager, said: “We’re all very excited about our new addition to the catering team.

“The van is an authentic 1941 tea car which was used by the YMCA to serve wartime troops their tea. We’re running it for the first time on Saturday (March 29) so we’re keeping our fingers crossed our visitors enjoy this new experience at Croome.”

The quest for the van began more than a year ago when the Defford Airfield Heritage Group scoured the country for a suitable vehicle for Croome’s catering team before an Evesham business came to their help.

The search led to Ali Adlkish from Avonside Motors visiting the Netherlands where he first set eyes on Bertha and managed to bring a vehicle in excellent working order to the grounds of Croome.

“The tea car revives many memories for ex-servicemen and civilians who experienced the war years,” he said.

“As soon as I saw her, I thought, what a find! It had become very apparent after many telephone calls and hours of research that there weren’t many left still in working order and I knew that trying to track down this type of rare vehicle was going to be very challenging.

“We were delighted and relieved when we located a lady in the Netherlands who had a 1941 Austin K2 YMCA tea car. We flew over to view it, and found the van to be in excellent order.

“I am extremely proud to have returned the YMCA Tea Car to what I feel is its rightful new home at Croome where it can be admired by many visitors.”

Visit for more information about Croome Court.


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