Dame Kelly aims to go the extra mile at her Hildenborough café

    Dame Kelly Holmes

    Double gold-winning Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes has applied to Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council to extend the opening hours of her 1809 café in Hildenborough.

    The former Tonbridge Athletic Club member says she has greatly enjoyed taking a hands-on role at her business in Tonbridge Road, but revealed it is now operating at peak capacity.

    As a result, the middle distance runner is bidding to extend evening use for special events.

    As well as the local backing she has received since opening her cafe, Dame Kelly says she is also very grateful for the support she has received in her bid to raise £250,000 for five different charities.

    These include Hospice in the Weald, Myeloma UK, Mind UK, and her own charitable Trust. Her tally presently stands at £150,000 through donations and her own efforts, including competing in the London Marathon in March.

    On her plans to extend opening hours at 1809, she said: “We’ve been here 21 months as a café and it has gone really well. It has become a destination for people of all ages to come together for social events and is somewhere they can just chill out.

    “But in order for the business to be sustainable, we need to be able to expand and need some flexibility in being able to open at least four times a month for events that would be organised by ourselves.”

    This week, Dame Kelly will calling on her own Olympic experiences when she travels to the Rio Games as a sporting ambassador with UK Sport.

    She will be particularly looking out for the results of Tonbridge Athletic Club member Tom Bosworth, who is competing in the race walking.

    Dame Kelly said: “Tonbridge Athletic Club has produced some really good sporting talent.

    “I’ve met Tom a few times and I hope that his training will pay off so that he is able to produce his best performance at the Games.”

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