Shropshire Star

Telford baker Imogen on a mission to deliver 22,000 Polar Express cookies

A baker from Telford who set up a new small business during the pandemic has been handed the perfect Christmas gift – making more than 20,000 cookies for The Polar Express.

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Imogen Kelly on the Polar Express

Imogen Kelly set up Immi’s Cakes and Bakes during the first lockdown of 2020 after choosing to start a baking business over a teaching career.

It has proved a success and it is now set to sky-rocket after she was given a huge order to bake 22,000 cookies for the Telford Steam Railway.

"It's been really exciting and it's so nice to know larger companies will consider local businesses, especially with the high costs we face," she said.

"Even things like the price of eggs have risen greatly. So it's such a massive thing to have support and to get this opportunity.

"It's funny because when I got the order, I misread it. I thought it was for 1,100 cookies and it was just one order but I was then told that's per day, so it's 22,000 freshly baked cookies from now until Christmas! I've got lots of cookies to bake and will be doing so for the foreseeable future!"

Imogen Kelly

Imogen, 23, who grew up in Newport, said baking had always been a passion but she started to take things seriously during the pandemic, while studying at University of Warwick.

"It's all happened very quickly," she said. "I set it up during lockdown, literally from my mum and dad's home in 2020.

"I was at university doing education studies to become a primary school teacher and was writing my dissertation in my third year.

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"But I have always baked with family and friends and I just needed a distraction during that time. I baked my mum a birthday cake and posted a picture on Facebook.

"I started to get messages from people asking if I could make them one. That's how it started – by me posting that cake on my Facebook page. I set up Immi's Cakes and Bakes on Instagram as well and it's gone really well."

The cookies will be available on the Polar Express

"If it wasn't for lockdown, I would have gone into my teaching. I did graduate and have my degree to fall back on but I finished university and went into this full-time."

Imogen, who lives in Muxton, is now fully focused on the job in hand.

"I am working around the clock, every spare moment now," she said.

"I am ready for that feeling on Christmas Day now when everything is done! It will be a big push until then."