A FAMILY business has closed after nearly four decades of bringing the community together.

De’aths Bakery, in Manningtree High Street, was run by David Smith, 59, and wife Tanya, 54, for 37 years.

David, who is a third generation baker, took over the bakery from Mr De’ath when he was just 22.

Having qualified from the National Bakery School in London and growing up in a bakers’ household, he was confident he could rise to the challenge.

He said: “We kept the De’ath name because it is a north-east Essex name and had a really good reputation.

“We kept a lot of his recipes and I incorporated recipes from my grandfather and my father and a few of my own.”

Son Christopher, 27, and daughter Laura-Jane, 30, have been working in the bakery since they were 12 years old so it truly has been a family-run business.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Laura-Jane ,30, Tanya,54, David,59 and Christopher,27Laura-Jane ,30, Tanya,54, David,59 and Christopher,27

David and his wife say they love baking but it is an exhausting trade and they are now looking forward to a few months of much-deserved break.

David added: “Me and Tanya met and fell for each other and she gave up everything and moved up to the bakery.

“She made a fantastic difference to it and has been the inspiration behind all the new cakes and everything that we do.”

But running the bakery has not always been bread and butter.

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The business had to overcame many challenges, especially in the 1990s.

David said: “Probably the worst time was when they closed the post office in Manningtree High Street and moved it into the Co-op.

“That killed the High Street and all the traders there lost a third of their trade.

“The only way we managed to survive was increasing the amount of wholesale that we did.”

Christopher will now be continuing the family legacy with his East Bergholt Bakery, while David and Tanya prepare for their next challenge.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Christopher Smith,27, is a fourth generation baker now running the East Bergholt BakeryChristopher Smith,27, is a fourth generation baker now running the East Bergholt Bakery