One of Norfolk’s top chefs, Richard Hughes, made a special appearance at a tea party to mark the end of a unique team-building initiative by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust staff. As Great British Bake Off fever swept the nation this autumn, a team of budding bakers at the Trust’s Sandringham Ward, NSFT’s specialist dementia unit at the Julian Hospital in Norwich, rose to their own team-building challenge.

Birthday cake, celebration cake and often 'just because it's Wednesday cake', staff on the ward rarely pass up the chance to try something sweet on their tea breaks. So it was only right that everyone's favourite cookery show provided the inspiration for Charge Nurse Kate Stelling's team-building initiative. And the icing on the cake was the visit by Richard, who is director at The Assembly House in Norwich, who presented two golden wooden spoons to the 'winners', clinical support worker Josie Andrews and housekeeper Sandy Loftus. He said: "It's incredible how popular the programme has become and it's a great way for people to start baking. Some of the cakes the staff have produced are fantastic - they've done really well." A special prize was awarded to management support worker Susan Bissmire who went beyond the call of duty to make her own puff pastry.

The challenge kicked-off at the end of the summer with each participating staff member selecting the name of a Great British Bake Off contestant, and as their unlucky baker left the TV show, they were required to make something base on the theme of that week's programme. The would-be bakers were only too keen to show off their talents and those who lacked experience more than made up for it in enthusiasm.

Staff across the Trust followed the trials and tribulations of the Sandringham team as they earned their crust through challenges involving biscuits, pastry, batter, bread, cake and desserts battling to take home the elusive 'Golden Wooden Spoon'. Kate said "It has been fantastic and we have enjoyed eating all the cake and bakes which the team has made over the weeks. Everyone has really got behind it and it has been a great team-building exercise. We're a bit sad it is over, and will particularly miss Wednesday nights, which were Bake Off nights as we watched to see who was going to be voted off."

*Text and Photograph courtesy of NSFT