Sidmouth cafe refuses family to share tea claim

AN astonished Sidmouth woman says she will boycott a caf� in the town after staff would not allow her to share a cup of tea with her elderly mum. But the owner of the Fort Caf� says the women were treated with patience and respect at all times and the caf

AN astonished Sidmouth woman says she will boycott a caf� in the town after staff would not allow her to share a cup of tea with her elderly mum.

But the owner of the Fort Caf� says the women were treated with patience and respect at all times and the caf�'s working practice applies to all customers, regardless of their circumstances.

Shirley Harding, 65, and her two sisters, Rita and Sandra, took their sick 93-year-old mum, Ada, to the caf� situated on the Esplanade earlier this month.

They ordered their drinks and then Shirley asked for another cup so Ada, who suffers from osteoarthritis and needs 24 hour care, could have a couple of sips of tea.


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But much to their disbelief the waitress said it was 'against their policy' to give out extra cups.

Shirley, who lives in Arcot Park, said: "My mum is in a wheelchair and has lost all use of her muscles. On that day she was very ill.

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"My mum can only manage to drink about a third of a cup of tea so we just asked for an extra cup so I could give her some of my tea."

Shirley said they were refused and her sister also asked if they could have a plastic cup but were again declined.

Although shocked, Shirley and her sisters accepted defeat but vowed never to return.

She added: "It made us very angry and poor mum couldn't have a cup of tea.

"She said she didn't want anything to eat or drink after that but I think that's because she had heard what happened and was upset."

Jackie Paterson, co-owner of the caf�, assures they operate a "non-discriminatory policy" but "assistance is always available where required".

She said their policy is clearly printed on their menu and she would expect people requiring a "special plastic sip cup" to carry it on them.

She added: "I know that in making some decisions you will not please everyone all of the time.

"We have a variety of customers both local and annual visitors who are in exceptional circumstances - their repeat visits are an indication to us that we treat them with both respect and care and in our opinion they appreciate and value the fact that they are welcomed equally.

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