A COCKERMOUTH restaurant which was forced to close has been inundated with orders after saying it would turn surplus stock into takeaways and sell them to raise funds for the NHS and foodbank.

Carla Frontini and Alessandro Zaccaria own Fermento, an Italian restaurant on Market Place.

After being forced to close as a result of the coronavirus, the couple had tried to set up a takeaway.

"But we have faced many difficulties concerning supplies," said Carla.

"We started to stock up but eventually decided to close our doors and wait for things to settle down a bit. However, we hate wasting food and really wanted to help our community so came up with the idea of a flash sale."

All the proceeds will be divided between the NHS and North Lakes Foodbank.

Within 24 hours of offering a selection of meals on Facebook, they had taken up to 40 orders. As long as they have food, orders will be taken until noon today.

The couple have created a collection service which means people are given allocated times to collect their meals from a table outside the restaurant.

"There has been huge local support at this difficult time," said Carla. "We wanted to do what we could to help people.

"There has been a lot of talk about our great NHS staff and the many struggling families who are dependant on foodbanks. So we chose to support them."

Carla and Alessandro come from northern Italy, which has been in lockdown for many weeks.

"All of our friends and family are well, which is a huge comfort," said Carla.

The couple opened their restaurant in May 2018 after moving to the town six months earlier.