THERE were many tears, hugs and happy memories shared at a bittersweet party to mark the closing of a popular city centre cafe.

Over 200 people visited Cafe Aroma in Cathedral Plaza to say goodbye to staff and enjoy their last hot drink or bacon roll before the doors shut for good.

But while owner Darren Bindert enjoyed having the chance to say goodbye to loyal regulars who had become friends, it was a sad day as he did not want to close the cafe he ran for over seven years.

Cathedral Plaza's owner Salmon Harvester has ended his tenancy ahead of plans to transform it into a leisure complex boasting seven restaurants across two floors.

A spokesman for Salmon Harvester said it had reached an amicable commercial agreement with Cafe Aroma for them to move out adding: "We wish them all the best for the future."

Mr Bindert, aged 46, called the closure an "end of an era" but has not ruled out opening another cafe in the city, collecting customers' email addresses to keep them informed of updates.

"Saturday was very emotional.

"There were lots of tears, a lot of people came by to give it a lovely send off.

"We must have had well over 200 people come through the doors to wish us well and I've got 20 pages of of comments about the job we have done.

"It was busy and standing room only from 9.30am through to 5pm."

Mr Bindert, who is originally from Canada and now lives in Birmingham, said he would be taking a break for the summer then worry about the next step.

Four staff members were also made redundant following the closure.

The former senior manager at Barclay's Bank said he had no idea how many cups of coffee had been served over the years but said it must have been hundreds of thousands.

"People have been telling us what the loss is going to mean to them - older people who would come in as part of their daily ritual to get out of the house, parents whose children knew it as the cafe with the toys and those who hoped we would resurrect somewhere else.

"It was a community and people came here who didn't know each other and ended up making friends.

"We have even had people meet their future partners here.

"That was what was so wonderful about the cafe and made it special in Worcester.

"It's a real shame for independent coffee shops like this because they are the heart and soul of any city.

"All you are left with are soulless, ubiquitous chains which can't have any uniqueness about them but they are what they are.

"In my heart of hearts, I hope I can find a new place to open in Worcester."

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