How a mum of three made a fresh start launching a family food business after the 'heartbreaking' death of her sister

A mum of three was inspired to make a fresh start in the food industry after the loss of her sister.

Beth Wyatt, of South Shields, was ‘heartbroken’ after the death of her sister in July 2019.

Leah Wyatt had been experiencing mental health problems and was only 35 when she passed away.

The tragedy inspired Beth, a trained chef, to quit her job in sales and follow her dream of setting up her own catering company.

Beth Wyatt (right) with her late sister Leah (left) and mum Liz Simpson

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With her partner Jamie Robson, she launched the mobile kitchen Fresh North in January 2020.

“Leah and I had talked about how we would work together once I got my act together and went back to catering. When she died I thought I’ve just got to take this risk and go for it,” said Beth.

“Jamie is a personal trainer and has an interest in food prep and nutrition, and he was keen to get involved as well. We told the kids and my stepson Jay, 13, was desperate to help too, so it’s a proper family business.”

In Leah’s memory for every portion of food they sell, the couple donate a percentage to charity Mental Health Concern to help others access the support she feels could have helped her sister.

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Beth Wyatt and her partner Jamie Robson with their children, Hannah, nine, Jay 13, and George Jackson-Wyatt, nine.

“[Leah] had some really complex mental health problems,” Beth said.

“She ended up in so much pain she got to the point where she had basically given up.”

She continued: “Mental health problems are rife – everybody’s experienced them or knows someone who has, but nobody really mentions it, which is why I wanted to have the involvement with Mental Health Concern.”

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Fresh North offers dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients, a popular brunch menu and vegan and vegetarian options, as well as creating bespoke menus for events.

Beth Wyatt and her sister Leah as children

Beth says she is thrilled with how it has gone down at markets, festivals and events across the North East.

“Leah would have loved all this and she would have been there with us in the van if she could have been,” she added.

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“We’re really proud of what we’re creating in her memory.”

Beth Wyatt in the Fresh North mobile kitchen.
Jamie Robson in the Fresh North mobile kitchen