SHE was used to taking down memos and instructions in her previous job, but now Sarah Stover is more likely to be taking down orders for afternoon teas.
The 54-year-old, from Fleetwood, is really in the pink with the success of her catering business, which she started last year after being made redundant.
After spending a year looking for a new job after she was made redundant from her role as a PA, she had been asked by a friend to help out by making some puddings, and it was suggested to her she make baking her business.
The mother-of-one said: “I had always enjoyed baking and cooking, and then someone suggested if I was struggling to find another job to start doing this as a business.
“I thought up the name Pink Meringue, and started off just doing pavlovas and individual meringues and so on and then, last autumn, things took off.
“I was asked to do food for a funeral, and was asked to do a traditional afternoon tea. So I did home-made sandwiches. I bought smoked salmon from Fleetwood, and bought a ham from Honeywells, and made small-home made cakes, like scones.
“One of my friends lives in Poulton and has a big kitchen, so we did the baking there.
“I have done funerals, christenings, anniversaries, birthdays - family occasions really. Afternoon tea does seem to be more popular now than hot buffets and things like vol-au-vents.
“Around Christmas time I got really busy.
“Everything I do is home-made, and the produce to make it is bought locally in independent shops, not the supermarkets.
“I love sitting down with people and the menus and deciding what they would like.
“At the moment I have been making macaroons, which are nice, and I love making pavlovas and meringues – they are my favourites.
“People really seem to like a pink, raspberry ripple meringue I do, and I sometimes get more unusual requests for pavlovas – toffee, chocolate, passion fruit and mango, and I even made a hazelnut one just before Christmas. “It was really nice and not something I would have thought of before.”
Sarah, who lives with husband Harald in Princes Way, recently won a competition for her baking with her recipe for honey tea bread. She beat off eight other contestants from the region to be crowned the winner of the Booths Food Recipe Competition final, aimed at making sure Northern recipes do not become extinct.
Her dish will feature on special recipe cards in-store, and on the Booths website.
She said: “I never thought for a moment I would win, although the honey tea bread is proving a winner with the afternoon teas.”
Sarah hopes her story will help possibly inspire others who have been left out of work as the recession bit.
Sarah was a practice manager at a GP surgery for 20 years, before becoming a personal assistant at a glass firm, but was made redundant two years ago.
She said: “I am doing a very different job from what I did before, but I am really enjoying it. I am able to work for myself and draw on the skills I had. I just love baking.”
To contact Pink Meringue, call 079 339 71279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org