A BUSINESS name synonymous with a village for more than a century has made a return.

The opening of Thorntons Delicatessen has seen a historic site at the heart of Cross Hills brought back to life.

And the Main Street enterprise represents a completely new venture for the owners, Robert Hart and his partner Helen Burgan.

Robert, who was born and brought-up in neighbouring Sutton, said: “For over 100 years the shop was run by the Whittaker family and sold cooked meats.

“The last owner was Peter Whittaker, who sold the business about five years ago, though the shop has been closed for the past two or three years.

“We identified an opportunity to give the shop a new lease of life, retain the old trading name and at the same time fill a niche in the local retail and hospitality sector by opening a brand-new delicatessen in the village.”

The couple are both from a meat and bakery-sector background and first met at Stanforths Butchers in Skipton, where Robert was a partner and Helen worked in the onsite bakery. She had previously worked in a Bradford bakery.

They left Stanforths in 2015 seeking a new direction in life and travelled extensively across Europe, the United States and Asia.

The couple also picked-up ideas and inspiration ahead of launching their new venture.

The delicatessen opened following an extensive refurbishment, inside and out, of the premises.

Unsurprisingly given the new owners’ butchery background, the shop’s offering includes homemade pies and pasties.

Robert said the initial response to the initiative from villagers had been hugely positive.

“Everything is going down a treat,” he added.

“It’s great to be working in our local village.

“We’ve been made to feel very welcome, with local people and businesses all wishing us well. In fact, many of them have already become regular customers.”

Thorntons Delicatessen also offers free Wi-fi.

Peter Whitaker sold the then GE Thornton and Sons, a business in his family for 130 years, in 2013.

The shop had been opened by Peter’s great-grandfather in 1884.

It was then run by Peter’s grandfather Harold Thornton and father Sam Whitaker, before Peter himself took-up the reins in 1967.