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Café owner leaves disabled employee job open whilst he undergoes surgery

James Channon wearing a face mask
James Channon wearing a face mask Image credit: staffordshire-live.co.uk

A young man with cerebral palsy has kept his job at a local café after he had to leave the role two years ago for major surgery.

When James Channon, who also has learning disabilities, left his job in 2019 he was worried they may not call him back.

Fortunately the manager at The Teapot Café in the Market Place, Burton his position open while he was undergoing two operations on his foot and ankle.

James’ first surgery did not go as planned leaving him unable to walk, he was in a cast for twelve months until he underwent a successful second procedure in July 2020.

After the op Channon, 25, had to shield due to Covid-19 whilst he was going through the healing process, despite the timeframe café owners Arran Warren and his wife Sophia Agrelo-Warren kept his job open until he was able to go back to work.

James’ mother Donna told Staffordshire Live: "He's been quite down and suffers with bad anxiety and that got bad as he had to shield so it has not been great times but it's definitely looking up now as he has gone back.

"I'm so proud of James as he does so well and works to the best of his ability. He is a superstar and he loves it. He can't wait to get back there the next day as they are so supportive there.

"They are brilliant with him. He can't keep up with the others but he does really well.

"He is always having a laugh and a joke with the customers as he's a bit of a comedian and he gets to know all of the regulars.

"He's just so happy after everything that's happened over the last two years and it builds up his confidence. He feels like part of the team. James is so happy and that is lovely to see as he wakes up and wants to go to work, and not many people do that.

"James is so chuffed and grateful to the Teapot Cafe and they just make him feel so welcome and part of the Teapot family, he loves speaking to the customers and having a joke with them. With all the negative things happening in the world at the moment, there still are some wonderful people helping others like Arran and Sophia."

When he was born James developed cerebral palsy though a brain haemorrhage. He weighed just 1 lb 12 oz and doctors told his mother he would be confined to a wheelchair.

Proving medics wrong James is perfectly capable cleaning tables and taking out food to customers at The Teapot Café where he is a valid employee.

Mr Warren said: "James is an absolute diamond with the customers and he kept trying to come back before he was ready.

"He's just a happy and outgoing chap who has come through the other side and he's great with the customers.

"The customers are always joking saying if he's not here they are not coming in. He is just so happy, outgoing and a comedian. James is fantastic."

For more about The Teapot Café visit their Facebook page.