Campaign Week 2: Touchdown Cafe

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Mat Timms, general manager at the Touchdown Café.

WELLESBOURNE’S vibrant airfield community has long attracted visitors with an interest in aviation, providing a valuable boost to the local economy.

With the recent revelation that businesses have been told to vacate the site by the end of 2016, theHerald is highlighting the groups and organisations that make the airfield special.

The Touchdown Café has become an institution of its own at Wellesbourne Airfield with people coming from far and wide to enjoy a cooked breakfast and watch the aircraft take off and land.

The café has been run by the same family for the past 16 years and provides employment for 13 people.

As well as workers from the airfield businesses and their customers, the café is a favourite stop off for cross country runners, members of the emergency services, walkers, cyclists, motorcyclists, and of course aviation fanatics.

Located just metres from the runway with its own outdoor seating area, the Touchdown Café offers a view that few eateries in the world can come close to.

The café acts as the social hub of the airfield and works with the local Welcombe Hills School, helping to teach pupils how to place orders while also offering work experience placements to other youngsters.

Mat Timms, general manager at the Touchdown Café, said: “I grew up on this airfield really, my dad used to fly and I used to go around on my motorbike while he was up in the air. The area would lose out massively if the airfield was to close. You’ve got to look at it like closing one of the main stations on the tube network, aviation is a network too and Wellesbourne is a big part of that.

“The airfield’s heritage is definitely something that attracts people here, 315 pilots lost their lives from this site. I had a guy from Canada come here recently to see the place because of its wartime past and we get a lot of other families coming here because of that too.

“I was very saddened to get the letter from the owners. I have no interest in running a café if it wasn’t here and it would be the end of that if the airfield closed. You can see from our prices that we’re not in this to make a lot of money, we just love being here.

“As much as I would like to think people come to the café to see me, I know they are really here because it is on the airfield, you can’t get a view like this anywhere else.

“Wellesbourne Airfield really is the jewel in the crown of aviation in this country.”