A café beloved by many in the community it serves may see new people run it as the current leaseholders plan to retire.

Kim and Dug Hickin, who run the Hickins’ @ The Crossing Café in Alston, are planning to reture once their initial lease ends in March this year.

Kim is a former intensive care nurse, and Dug is a former marine, and they moved from Dorset about seven years ago to escape the southern rat race, as Dug explained: “We took the plunge and found this perfect farmhouse in Alston.

“We took six months off to do the house up and afterwards Kim got headhunted for nursing in Manchester, and I got a job at the council, and we thought, what are we doing?

“We took our foot off the gas, so we started our own catering business in 2018 and then went into outside catering feeding people near the DPD depot in Carlisle, and then branched out to weddings.

“Kim noticed the advert for the café about two and a half year ago and we did a temporary gig for them where we did food for events, and then we took on the lease.”

In Cumbria: Cafe interiorCafe interior (Image: Kim Hickin)

Dug, who worked as a chef in the marines, said the lease is coming to end at the end of March, and new leaseholders are being sought.

“At the moment there haven’t been any bites, so we’ve offered to run it on a part-time basis for the rest of the season if they can’t find anyone,” Dug said.

Kim said: “When we first met each other it was something we always wanted to do, we always wanted to run a little bistro, and it’s a bucket list achievement – it’s been a dream really.”

In Cumbria: Kim (left) and Dug, during his last year with the marinesKim (left) and Dug, during his last year with the marines (Image: Kim Hickin)

They’re not leaving Alston, and Dug added: “We’ve got so many lifelong friends here, the people are absolutely fantastic.”

On retirement plans, Dug said: “For the first week, we’ll probably just get drunk and chill out, but we want to get a motorhome, and we’re both cyclists so we want to follow the Tour de France for three weeks.

“We also want to travel around Europe and spend time with our loved ones.”

The property owner asks any people interested in taking it on to email them at d.granath@south-tynedale-railway.org.uk.