Kettering bakery gets new lease of life as shopkeeper James beats cancer to follow dream

James will open the doors of McAuley's in Hawthorn Road this Thursday

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 7:00 am

A much-loved Kettering shop will be given a new lease of life by a father-of-two who beat cancer, spurred on by his dream of re-opening the former bakery.

James McAuley will open the eponymous McAuley's to customers on Thursday (August 5) at the shop occupying the corner of Hawthorn Road and Argyll Street.

It is only ten months since he spotted a lump down in his throat that, after tests, was discovered to be cancer, a diagnosis which put his plans on hold just after he had signed a five-year lease.

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James McAuley outside his deli and takeaway on the corner of Hawthorn Road and Argyll Street

Using the time during treatments to draw up his business plan and work on designs for his deli-eatery, James was desperate to get better and reach his goal.

He said: "Before my treatment began in December I had a month to start planning the shop - it gave me something to focus on. I did my business plan, and thought about the menu."

It was last September that James signed the five-year lease on the shop around the same time as he noticed a persistent sore throat and his symptoms would not go away.

Unable to get a face-to-face appointment with his GP he was asked to take a photo on his phone and send it in.

James McAuley owner of McAuley's

Electrician James said: "I had a sore spot on my throat. I could only get a telephone appointment. They said ‘get a toothbrush handle and pop it’ but it didn't work, I just drew blood."

Luckily he noticed a dentist appointment reminder, phoned the surgery and got a slot as someone else had cancelled. The dentist immediately referred James to the hospital.

James said: "I called my GP and said 'can you see me now?' and they said no. I was so worried that I went to A&E, I just wanted a doctor to look. I knew it was something serious.

"I was referred to maxillofacial at Northampton General Hospital."

James is stocking vegan, organic and free-from treats

Two weeks later James started a six-week course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and 10kg (one-and-half-stones) lighter, he was given the 'all clear' in May and could start on the shop.

He said: "I got a lot of support from my family. I can't wait to get started."

McAuley's will be opening for business this week offering hot and cold, sweet and savoury food including breakfast baps and sausage rolls as well as a selection of vegan and vegetarian snacks being on the menu.

Retaining the building's origins, customers will be able to buy fresh bread and rolls sourced from the Corby High Street Bakery to be used for the sandwiches.

McAuley's will open at 7am for breakfasts

As well as freshly ground coffee and speciality teas, the deli counter will stock English and continental cheese, pastrami and salamis, pasta and olive oils. But his emphasis will be on fresh and healthy - and hopes to get local producers on board.

James added: "It's all fresh. Fresh bread, fresh salads, freshly prepared. Not too sugary and as organic and natural as possible.

"There's been a bakery here since anyone can remember. It's a great location - it's near the town with a great commuter contingent and has a great village feel.

"It's been a long year and I can't wait to get going."