former Coronation Street actress Tracy Brabin was back on her home turf this weekend to help celebrate her mum’s 80th birthday.
Tracy, who attended Heckmondwike Grammar School, was at the Whitcliffe Hotel in Cleckheaton, for a party in honour of her mum Betty, who set up Birstall’s first ever cafe, using just a £50 bank loan.
Before Betty’s opened opposite the market place in the 1980s, anyone who missed the one bus an hour had nowhere warm to wait. So, with £50 in the bank, second-hand tables and chairs and her mother washing up for free in the kitchen, Betty opened her cafe and it soon became a huge success.
Tracy said after five years of serving the cold people of Birstall, Betty sold her little business, which is now the Cobbles Restaurant and Bistro.
The actress who has appeared in Eastenders, Coronation Street and is more recently known as the face of Sainsbury’s, said: “Mum performed a public service in that little cafe.
“Everyone knew her and she was a great member of the community, championing everything Birstall and Batley. She’s my local hero.”
Now living in London, Tracy has spent the last 10 years writing, including for Shameless and Hollyoaks, but says she tries to come home to Yorkshire as much as she can.
With her teenage daughter applying to university in Leeds, she expects to be quite busy in these parts.
Betty still lives in Howden Clough, where Tracy, now 49, grew up.