Luton care home resident who has visited his favourite cafe for 50 years is welcomed back after pandemic kept him away

A Luton care home resident, cut off from one of his favourite cafe’s because of the pandemic, has made a welcome return.

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 4:51 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 5:31 pm

Jeff Coleman, a resident at St Mary’s Bupa Care Home, recently enjoyed a heartfelt trip to his favourite café, the Continental Café in Luton – a place he credits as a continued source of happiness throughout his life.

Jeff, aged 76, has been a loyal customer of Mario’s Café on Chapel Street, for half a century.

Thanks to his ‘regular customer’ status, Jeff has built a long-standing friendship with café owner, Leticia Testa.

Jeff outside Mario's cafe

Before moving into St Mary’s in December 2020, Jeff lived in sheltered housing opposite the Café where he continued to visit Leticia and the team on a daily basis.

Throughout the pandemic, Jeff has missed his frequent visits to the café and expressed his wish to the St Mary’s team to reconnect with the place which has boosted his spirits so much over the last 50 years.

With restrictions having lifted, Leticia was hoping to be reunited and invited Jeff and the St Mary’s team to Mario’s Café for an Italian style lunch.

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Jeff tucking into his favourite food

Jackie Crawley and Sandra Hart, activities coordinators at St Mary’s, organised a visit last month.

Whilst at the café, Jeff was reunited with Leticia, as well as some of his friends Ivor and Fiorella who he used to live with in the area. He had a brilliant time catching up with his friends and enjoyed an Italian lunch, featuring his favourites risotto, and lasagne.

Jeff said: “I had a fantastic time – it brought back so many wonderful memories. I was extremely happy that the St Mary’s team managed to fulfil my dream of returning to the Café. It meant so much to me and really made me smile to reconnect with a place and its people who have done so much to boost my wellbeing over the course of my life.”

Leticia shared: “It was a very moving visit and I hope Jeff will come again and his visits can once more be a regular occurrence.”

Jeff also has a passion for writing. He is a self-published author, having written a book about his life and travels in 2018. At St Mary’s, Jeff enjoys playing dominos, bingo, reading, and writing.