Take a tea break to help struggling cafés, urge Brownlee brothers

It would usually take more than a cup of tea to interrupt the training schedules of Yorkshire’s Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee. But the brothers are today launching a new initiative to persuade fellow walkers, runners and cyclists to make time for café stops along their routes.

Olympians Jonny and Alistair Brownlee enjoy a cup of Yorkshire Tea at the Tea Cottage in Bolton Abbey to help promote an initiative aimed at helping cafes. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

The Brownlees, who hail from Leeds, dreamed up the idea themselves to support tea rooms and similar small businesses which have struggled for trade this year. It will also benefit their charitable foundation, which encourages children to try out triathlon sports.

Jonny Brownlee said that despite the race against the stopwatch, refuelling at local cafés had always been an “unmissable” part of their joint routine, and that the idea for “The Cafés are Open” challenge came to them in March, when they when they were forced to swap roads, hills and open water for treadmills and static bikes.

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“One of the biggest things we’ve missed in lockdown is our tea breaks at local cafés and we know it’s a challenging time for them,” he said.

Olympians Jonny and Alistair Brownlee enjoy a cup of Yorkshire Tea at the Tea Cottage in Bolton Abbey to help promote an initiative aimed at helping cafes. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“These strange times have also affected our ability to fund raise for the Brownlee Foundation, which is more important now than ever.”

The challenge – which runs for three months – was an opportunity “to get out and about to some of the county’s best cafés”, he added.

Those taking part are required to donate £30 to the Brownlee Foundation before visiting five of 15 named cafés around Ilkley and Skipton by the end of November, taking a picture of themselves at each one.

The first 500 to do so will be awarded the chance of a cycle ride with the brothers and a bundle of products from Yorkshire Tea, which is supporting the initiative.

Among the cafés taking part are The Commute and Bettys Ilkley along with Bloomfield Square, Hamiltons Café Bistro, Abbey Tea Rooms, Tea on the Green, The Tea Cottage, The Brownie Barn, Riverbank Burnsall, The Old School Tea Room, Cobblestones Café, Zarina’s Tea Room Café, The Old Barn Tea Room, Town End Farm Shop and The Clubhouse. The full list is at www.thecafesareopen.com.

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Thank you

James Mitchinson