THE till has been cashed for the final time at one of Haddington’s longest-running coffee shops.

Lesley Macdonald first took the helm at The Pantry 23 years ago and has become known for serving up giant scones and meringues, as well as an assortment of other tasty morsels.

However, she cashed up for the final time last Thursday, with new owners expected to re-open the doors at the High Street business this month.

She said: “When I started, there was the Golden Grain and Carlyle Cafe – those were the only other places for coffee and home baking.

“People have been really devastated we are closing.

“Everybody is saying ‘where am I going to get my scones?’ but I am confident in the new people; they are really nice.

“It will not be the same business but they are doing their own version of a coffee shop.

“I am quite confident that I am leaving it in good hands.”

Lesley said there had been a number of changes in the town but she still had regulars who had been visiting for a number of years.

She said: “When I first started, it was in the days when all the council staff were in Haddington. They used to all come for their lunch and it has always been busy.

“There are a lot of regulars – a lot of people who come now came 23 years ago.”

Lesley ran The Pantry for 10 years before moving on and running her own outside catering business, Heaven’s Kitchen, and also running Memory Lane, on neighbouring Market Street. A spell at Dunbar Garden Centre was then followed by a return to The Pantry last year, alongside daughter Marnie Budge.

However, the 61-year-old, who lives in Dunbar, felt the time had come to hang up her apron for the final time.

Lesley, who is planning a trip to Canada, added: “I feel sadness at closing but I am quite happy I am handing it over to people I know will make a good job of it.

“I am too old for this kind of business, where you have got to be in here at 7.30am and leave at 5pm. It is a long day on your feet all the time.”

Joanna Gibson, chairwoman of Haddington Business Community Partnership (HBCP), said: “We wish Marnie and Lesley all the best in the future.

“We are really glad to hear that The Pantry has been taken over and it is going to still be a coffee shop because it is a much-loved part of Haddington town centre.”