Train station platforms can feel cold and unwelcoming places with people rushing through, often hurrying and stressing about their journey ahead.

But there is one exception.

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Early morning commuters leaving Platform 2 at Brough train station are very likely to have an altogether different experience, one which leaves them feeling the exact opposite of harassed.

From the cosy kiosk positioned on the edge of the platform, great-grandad David Funnell single-handedly lifts the spirits of even the grumpiest commuter, as he inquiries about chocolate sprinkles while whipping up a frothy steaming coffee from the Brough Coffee Kiosk.

David Funnell from Brough Coffee Kiosk on Platform 2 at the train station
David Funnell from Brough Coffee Kiosk on Platform 2 at the train station

In fact, David is such a familiar and friendly figure on a cold and blustery morning that many have taken him into their hearts - and their confidences - sharing family celebrations, landmark moments and personal news with the man who prepares their flat white every day.

David, 71, has had pictures drawn by children, thank you letters from abroad, and even records regular video messages to one former customer who emigrated to Australia and misses his friendly face.

He said: "I saw people going off to college every day and then get their first job, ladies who are pregnant and then come back with their babies.

"There was one lady who told me she'd got engaged, I then saw her go off shopping for her wedding dress, and now she's moved to Australia and her mum comes and films messages for me to send her.

"When you wish people a safe journey you just do it and don't think they are really listening, but they obviously are."

As they say, one good turn deserves another.

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So when the pandemic hit and David's customers all got told to work from home, unsurprisingly, his business took a massive hit.

But when a kindly NHS worker posted to his friends and followers that David, who lives with his wife in Cottingham, was still open and serving, they rallied round to rescue him and re-pay him for his years of kindness.

David said: "During lockdown I had an ambulance driver that came and got a coffee all the time, and he put on Facebook that local dog walkers and residents could come and get a coffee because I was still open.

"That helped get me through the pandemic so I would like to thank him and all those lovely people for being so nice, I really appreciated their custom."

David Funnell's business took a big hit during the Covid-19 pandemic
David Funnell's business took a big hit during the Covid-19 pandemic

On the morning I visit, there is a steady stream of customers queuing up for David's coffee, and unsurprisingly, all of them greet him by his first name.

He has a little chat with each of them, asking one how her house painting is coming along, and wishing another a good day.

It's clear to see there is a huge affection for him from those who walk away smilingly clutching their coffee, which I have to attest, is made to perfection.

"I use locally-sourced artisan coffee which is from McCoy's in Hull," said David.

His knowledge of the hospitality industry stems from many years working in hotels, pubs and restaurants across Yorkshire, from starting, coincidentally, at Hull's Royal Station Hotel in the 1960s.

He worked his way up and through a variety of roles, before his retirement in 2010.

However, he said settling down into his retirement was never going to be an option.

"It was my son-in-law who suggested opening the kiosk. His brother was getting a London train and could never get a nice coffee in Brough early in the morning, and I made inquiries, but it wasn't a quick process."

It actually took three years to obtain the necessary permissions from the owners and operators of the platform and train station, and the day he finally received the thumbs-up was a momentous occasion.

"It was quite exciting. I had been operating out of a small Smart car parked on the train station ramp before that for a year, so it was great to finally be able to get my kiosk."

He now starts his days at 4am, to be ready and set up for the first train of the day, at 5.38am.

After a recent health scare which saw him in hospital for six days, David says he now realises just how much this job, which he has been doing for close to seven years now, means to him.

Brough railway station would be a much lonelier place without David
Brough railway station would be a much lonelier place without David

"I was in hospital and it crossed my mind that what would I do if I couldn't come back to this job again? And it was then that I realised exactly how much it means to me."

He said that the commuters who he hasn't seen for the last year and a half are starting to slowly come back, making the job feel more 'normal' again.

"But there are still some people I haven't seen for 19 months. Some days I was making two or three drinks, but it is getting back to normal now.

"It's nice to see people again. I do love it. I plan to carry on as long as my health lets me," he added.

David, we hope so too.

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