‘Beware the killer cupcakes’

in BT.com

Nobody is saying that Kirsty Hippolite, a mother of five from the Isle of Wight who was told that she couldn’t bake cakes for her child’s school charity fundraising sale because of health and safety reasons, is a serial poisoner.

Nobody is saying that.

And nor is anybody saying that Mrs Hippolite would have been making her fairycakes in an unsafe or unhygienic environment, accidentally pouring toilet bleach into the batter, confusing shards of razor blade for the hundreds and thousands, short-sightedly slathering on plastic explosive instead of icing, dusting the tasty treats with ricin etc.

Nobody is saying that, either.

With the evidence available, we cannot prove that Mrs Hippolite’s fairycakes would have turned out to be lethal for the youngsters at Cowes Enterprise College.

We have to assume that Mrs Hippolite would have baked the cakes in good faith, perhaps using a technique or recipe demonstrated by the likes of Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry on The Great British Bake Off.

We have to trust that anyone who may have possibly been inspired by TV’s best-loved bakers would be wishing only to provide some cakes for the children and perhaps raise a few pounds for the event at which they were to be sold.

We cannot prove that Mrs Hippolite is a madwoman hell-bent on concocting lethal pastries with which to assault the unsuspecting residents of the Isle of Wight.

But, crucially, we cannot say for certain that a child might not have eaten one of the cakes and suffered horrific injuries.

For that reason, thank God for the vigilance of teachers at Cowes Enterprise College, where Kirsty’s daughter Georgie, 12, is one of the pupils.

“The teacher rang up asking if I had a food hygiene certificate because they couldn’t sell the cakes without one,” said Mrs Hippolite. “I said no, because I just bake at home, I do not bake professionally. He explained that unfortunately it would mean he would be personally liable if anything went wrong with any of the children that ate them.”

Thanks to the quick-thinking of this teacher, a bake-sale with potentially devastating consequences was averted. An inspiring and reassuring tale of health and safety working brilliantly to save society from itself, for sure.

But with a distressing coda.

Headteacher James Stewart said: “In the last six weeks all our form groups have been responsible for organising a charity function. This has involved tug of war, guess the number of sweets in a jar, a rounders competition and numerous other activities. While the children of Cowes Enterprise College may have been protected from Mrs Hippolite’s certificate-free fairycakes, it is clear that any number of terrifying risks is being run on a daily basis there.

What if a child fell over playing rounders? Or the sun heated the lid of the sweet jar and a pupil got a slightly-too-hot hand from touching it? And as for the threat of muddy shoes from a tug of war… well, it is just too horrible to contemplate. Only more legislation and more teachers knowing the exact extent of their liabilities can save these children.

We should all pray for the Isle of Wight in this frightening time.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: