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Flaming Lady of Hay 2022- 2023

Born: Born 29th October 1967, Leamington Spa. 

Lives: For over 30 years home has been Hay-on-Wye, Wales.

Known as: Kate the Bread.

Special Skills: Baking, bringing the community together,

celebrating the written word, championing women.

Kate BR Flaming Lady - credit Billie Charity-4_edited.jpg

Kate was born in Leamington Spa but moved to Hereford as a baby. Her university years were spent at New Hall – the fiercely feminist, all women college in Cambridge where she immersed herself in medieval female mystics and unknown 17th century female poets; an experiences she describes as wonderfully ethereal. After university she moved to Hay-on-Wye with her late husband Barty and has been embedded in the heart of the town since. She lives on Lion St where she and Barty brought up their four children and set up two businesses.

Her bakery - simply known as Kate’s Bakery -  is tucked away in a characterful old workshop on Lion Street and has become a word-of-mouth destination for seriously delicious bread and pastries. During Lockdown it was an essential social hub emphasising what is most important to Kate in her role as baker. She says:

It’s me making it and me selling it. I’ve remained small and that’s important so that I don’t loose touch. Bread is very symbolic – it’s representative of nurturing, feeding and creating a connection. The word companion comes from the Greek ‘with bread’. The idea that someone you share bread with is a companion is deep reaching in most cultures and I feel immensely grateful to inhabit this vital role in my community (and I also take a little bit of pleasure being the only female baker in town!).

Kate’s other business is Bartrums which is at the other end of Lion street. It was founded by her late husband who shared her quirky and creative spirit as well as her passion for the town. It is a good old fashioned stationers providing all the town’s daily organisational needs. But beyond that, and with its magical pen room with a spectacular selection of fountain pens and inks, it is a hymn to the written word, encapsulating the very spirit of the town of books.

Both of these enterprises celebrate and maintain the enduring power of the tangible in an increasingly digital world and the importance of knowing, serving, feeding and inspiring ones community.


Kate also spent over a decade working at Herefords Women’s Refuge. Work that she talks about as been, wonderful, real and vital.



What does this award mean to you?

'I was so immensely touched to receive this award. Once I got over the shock I was able to accept that it celebrated my commitment to the life of this wonderful town. It spoke to my independent, outspoken personality, to my life long championing of women and hopefully to my ability to inspire and nurture those around me. As the first Flaming Lady of Hay an unassuming, unconventional career has been honoured.'

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