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Diane Roder

I’ve run the tea shop at the Museum for 17 years. We came to MK in 75 because my late husband got a job with the Development Corporation – he was with the landscape department.

There wasn’t much here when we came. A lot of mud, lots of roundabouts going nowhere, and I used to send my children to school in wellie boots!

Diane in character at Milton Keynes Museum

When I first came, the museum used to be open just two weekends a year. We came for a visit and I got chatting to a lady making corn dollies. So I went and got a sheath of wheat and joined her making corn dollies! I’ve been involved with the museum ever since. In those days no one used the Victorian kitchen to cook so – as there were a fair few dolly makers – I thought I’d have a go cooking on the range.

“I like being here at the museum – I spend more of my waking hours here than at home.”

We then opened the tea shop and I started running it, dressed as a Victorian cook for the visitors. That was 17 years ago… and I’m still going. I do all the coking, all the shopping. I bake at least 10 cakes plus biscuits a week – for event days I make more! And if we use them all up I’ll go home and bake some more. This is voluntary. I do it because I love the museum – I wouldn’t want to get paid for being here, I like being here. I spend more of my waking hours here than at home. Usually I’m here at the museum 7 days a week. Last year the only day I had off was Christmas Day! It’s like a second home to me.

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