WHEN Elisabeth Drake's brother died of mouth cancer in 2014, she decided to open a cafe in his honour – but she wanted to make the place more than just somewhere that people eat.

Fast forward to 2018, and Henry’s Cafe in Upton-upon-Severn has become a cornerstone of the community.

Elisabeth, 59, has made Henry’s a library, meeting place and events venue as well as a cafe.

Henry, who was just 50 when he died, was Elisabeth's last surviving relative and she used inheritance money from him, as well as his cherished history books, to realise her cafe dream.

Elisabeth said: “He was a lover of history books and so it is really nice to be able to have them in the cafe.”

She added: “Most of the furniture and bookcases in here belonged to my mother so it is a wonderful way to keep their memory alive.”

Elisabeth took over the site, which was previously a bank, two-and-a-half years ago and says a lot of hard work has gone into making Henry’s what it is today.

“When we took over, the building was an empty shell, and since then we’ve put in the mezzanine floor and re-decorated completely,” she told the Worcester News.

“When you see photos of how it looked before, the transformation is incredible.

“A lot of hard work has gone into doing the place up but it has been well worth it.”

Originally from Milan, Elisabeth moved to the UK with her husband in 1993 and initially worked as a foreign languages examiner.

Visitors to Henry’s can enjoy reading a book, listening to live music or just chatting with friends in a warm environment.

Elisabeth says this is exactly what she wanted: “I always wanted this place to be somewhere where you can come in and feel at home.

“It was a risk setting up the business, but we can cater for all kinds of things here so it is really valuable to the local community.

“All of my staff are locals and so it is really nice to give something back.”

Elisabeth says her experience of losing her brother and other family has made her determined to make a success of Henry’s.

She said: “It has given me a different perspective on life, I think. Our customers are our friends and we all know each other, and that is something to cherish.”