Rowcroft's Big Bake is taking place from April 12 - 20 and invites people across South Devon to host their own bake sale, coffee morning, tea party or bake off and donate the funds raised to Rowcroft Hospice. Glenn Cosby, who was the last man-standing on the BBC's 2013 series of The Great British Bake Off, has partnered with the hospice to launch the event. He agreed to chat to us about his reasons for supporting the hospice and also revealed a couple of his top baking tips...now pass us that apron!
Glenn Cosby with Laura, Rowcroft's Community Fundraising manager
"It's very easy not to think about death," admits Glenn Cosby, the Teignmouth-born Great British Bake Off finalist, when asked about what hospice care means to him. Unbeknownst to more than six million people who tuned into watch him turn his hand to sweet pastry and delicious tray bakes, the baking connoisseur has gained first hand experience of what a difference the hospice's services can make to peoples' lives.
"I've been teaching in Teignmouth for seven years and I've indirectly known dozens of families whose lives would have been very different had it not been for Rowcroft's support," explains the Head of Sixth Form at Teignmouth Community College. "One of my students lost her Mum seven years ago, and she still has a relationship with Rowcroft. That support is so important to her because she's continuing to process it; you don't just get over losing someone that close to you."
Glenn cites his experience of the hospice's impact and support as his reason for becoming the face of the first ever Rowcroft Big Bake, a nine day long event that invites people to host their own bake sale, coffee morning, tea party or bake off and donate their proceeds to the hospice. He says: "Stopping for tea and cake gives us the chance to chat, catch up and enjoy each others' company, so what a great way to raise some money at the same time? Coming together to eat nice cake and bread, pies and pastries is a joy, and I think that's why the campaign is so brilliant."
As a child Glenn experienced the joys of baking and sharing cake with his family, particularly as he received expert baking tuition from his grandparents. "I remember being on a stool when I was very young, about three or four, and helping my Nan to bake fantastic cakes," he explains, "some of my earliest memories are of sitting in her kitchen and interrupting her cake making. She was an instinctive, brilliant baker. She didn't used to weigh anything, she didn't need to, she just knew."
Together Glenn's grandparents taught him to bake cakes and bread, and, crucially for his time on The Great British Bake Off, how to make melt in your mouth pastry. "You need a light touch," he reveals to us, "if you roll it and work it, roll it and work it, then you're going to end up with something hard. If you handle it the least you possibly can then it should be alright!"
As part of his Big Bake partnership Glenn has agreed to share two exclusive recipes with Rowcroft Hospice, and has also revealed a couple of his top baking tips: "Lots of people think you have to be really scientific and precise with baking, but you don't," he says, "there are some basics you do need to figure out, but once you've mastered a Chelsea bun recipe, for example, you can play with it and put in whatever you like - chocolate, nuts, fruit." But when grilled on whether to bake a Victoria sponge with butter or margarine, he is absolutely certain of his answer: "Butter, always!"
Rowcroft Hospice's Big Bake is taking place from April 12 -20. For more information, or to sign up for a fundraising pack (which includes the two exclusive recipes from Glenn) click here.
If you've signed up we want to see your bake sales/ bake offs/ tea parties! Please share your photos with us by using the hashtag #RowcroftBigBake and #RowcroftHospice on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Also why not follow our Pinterest board for inspiration for your Big Bake event?