A Tidworth military couple has seen business boom since selling coffee and cake from a converted horsebox.

Maria and Alex Woodhouse are army warrant officers from Monday to Friday, but at the weekends pitch Woody's Coffee Box and Bar on Tidworth Polo Pitches.

Woody's opened for the first time in March, and because of the lockdown, they were "the busiest and successful months" as hospitality venues had closed.

Maria said that their love for coffee and cake - and thinking of a retirement plan - was part of the reason for opening: "Myself and my husband are both in the army, and have been for about 22 years each so far. It's coming up to when we would be leaving the army.

"We wanted a little horsebox to sell coffee from. We love coffee and cake, and go for a coffee and cake every weekend.

"It was always a discussion in the back of our minds, and then we went for a walk around Tidworth Polo Pitches during lockdown, and we thought, 'Wouldn't it be nice if there was a little coffee van here? We'd be able to get a coffee and walk around with it.'

"We were having a drink over Christmas, and I was looking online and saw the horse box for sale and thought why don't we just get it. It snowballed really."

The couple got in touch with Tidworth garrison, who were "completely supportive".

As it on army land, they had to apply for a licence through the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

She said she had never baked anything before starting the business: "I had never baked anything in my life, and it got to the point where I thought I'm going to have to - people are going to need something to have with their coffee.

"The internet has been my saving grace, but don't get me wrong I've had some blunders."

They bake everything themselves, on Thursday and Friday evenings, and attended a barista course with the Winchester Coffee Roasters, as they ground the beans themselves in the van.

She says it's their "retirement plan at the age of 40", and often ropes in daughter Tegan, 16, while also balancing parenting Ryan, 13, and one-year-old Amelia.

The business has since boomed, and they have attended the Salisbury Christmas Market, the Fulltone Music Festival in Devizes, and army functions such as bonfire night in Middle Wallop for the Army Air Corps.

They are about to extend their contract for another year, and she says they want to expand to more events, and add a Gin and Prosecco van to the mix.

You can keep up to date with Woody's on Facebook and Instagram, with more information on ordering.

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