Alleviating poverty, bringing hope

NOAH Helps B&B owner as she’s given full marks for her full English

WITH homemade cake every day, a roaring log fire in the winter and even a friendly ginger cat called Marmalade to welcome you, Alison McGaw’s bed and breakfast seems like something from a storybook.

But Bakewell House is a reality, thanks to two years of hard toil by Alison, whose efforts are already paying dividends.

Not only are guests waxing lyrical in the guestbook about the high standard of both accommodation and service (one female guest wrote that she felt as though she’d stayed in ‘a retreat’), but Alison has just been given the Breakfast Award by the English tourist board website,, just two months after opening.

She was bowled over by the honour, especially as there’s only one other establishment in Luton to have received the Breakfast Award, and that’s Luton Hoo.

Alison has given her Hart Lane home a complete overhaul since moving in two years ago, to make into the cosy guesthouse it is now.

“I’ve done everything, the decorating and the gardening, by myself,” said the 47-year-old mother of two, whose children have now flown the nest.

“People seem to like it – they say it’s like a home from home.”

But she managed to do it all on a tiny budget – with the help of Luton charity NOAH Enterprise.

“Absolutely everything in the dining room has come from the NOAH furniture shop,” she said. “I spent 13 years bringing up two kids on my own so I had very little money, but it just goes to show you can do something really good on a budget. I almost called the B&B Noah’s.”

Alison tries to source as many products locally as she can for her breakfasts, with her sausages and bacon coming from Hitchin Road butcher H Collins, and the jams and marmalades made by members of the congregation at St Christopher’s Church in Round Green.

And she certainly knows how to give good service, having served The Queen during her catering career, and makes every effort to go the extra mile for her guests.

“They get homemade cake on arrival, and if they’re going to miss their breakfast the next morning I’ll make them a packed lunch to take with them.

“Sometimes people ask if they can use the iron, so I just tell them to give it to me and I’ll do it. The men especially seem to like that.”

The aim of the Breakfast Award is to help visitors “find those places where the owners have gone the extra mile to ensure the breakfast will exceed expectations”.

And Alison couldn’t be more proud. “I think it’s such an achievement for a little B&B, to be on a par with Luton Hoo. That’s not bad is it?”