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Last Updated: Friday, 2 June 2006, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
Day centre rejects home-made cake
Elaine Richards
Elaine Richards has won WI awards for her baking
A woman who baked a cake for a friend at a day centre was told it breached health and safety regulations.

Elaine Richards, 75, from Braunton in north Devon, was told the Age Concern centre in Barnstaple only allowed people to eat bought cakes.

It said that it had to make sure its elderly and frail guests were not put at any risk.

But former nurse Mrs Richards, who has won WI awards for her cakes, said she was astonished.

She said: "I thought they were pulling my leg until I realised they were being deadly serious.

We are just trying to be responsible
Andrea Scott, Age Concern

"I just laughed. I thought it was so stupid."

Her cake was made with standard ingredients including flour and free-range eggs.

She said she could not understand why a bought cake should be any safer than a home-made one.

She said: "When I compared the recipe to the shop cake, that was full of artificial dyes and all sorts of things, which made it even more ridiculous."

Age Concern said many of the guests at the private club had special health needs and the priority was to look after them.

It said its decision was not a reflection on Mrs Richards' cooking.

Regional director Andrea Scott said: "The average age of residents is 85, they have many disabilities and some of them are diabetic and our policy is to keep them as well and safe as possible.

"We are just trying to be responsible and bought cake is a responsible line we have adopted."

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