A DARLINGTON cafe is celebrating its 15th year in business.

The Sunflower Cafe in Bucktons Yard marked its 15th year on September 19.

Owner Debbie Eccles was working for Darlington Council at sites including the Dolphin Centre when her sister moved back to Darlington and the two decided buy the cafe, which bagged a clean air award after going smoke-free years before it became law.

The cafe was also nominated as the borough's best in the Love Darlo awards.

The Northern Echo:

Mrs Eccles said: "That first day was nerve-racking. We had never been in charge before, but we're still here are loving it.

"We're family run and family orientated, quite a lot of our customers are like family. One is in a home now and we go to see him once a week. Through lockdown we also did meal deliveries.

"In 15 years, hopefully we'll still be here welcoming customers and making new friends – because that's what our customers have become. A lot of people just come by for a chat and it's nice for them to be able to do that."

For a previous anniversary, a family member surprised the woman with the sunflower mural outside the cafe – which neighbours "loved" as it brightened up the yard.