Former Great British Bake Off winner-turned-publican Candice Brown celebrated London Luton Airport’s latest milestone today as she said ‘cheers to 85 years’ as London’s simplest, friendliest airport.

Candice, who owns The Green Man pub locally in Bedfordshire and was a former air stewardess for Monarch Airlines based at LLA, delighted passengers today by making a surprise appearance to toast the anniversary.

Known for her warm and friendly personality, Candice had the honour of pouring the first pint of specially brewed beer, ‘Lift Off 85*’, to mark the momentous occasion. Paying homage to the airport’s roots, Candice recreated the iconic shot of Lorraine Chase at the airport from 1979, who the baker bears an uncanny resemblance to.

Dressed in a beautiful lilac Nobody’s Child dress, Candice struck a pose on the runway, completing her look with a replica boater hat and raising a glass of the specially brewed beer in place of the champagne from the original shot.

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The exclusive beer has been crafted by The Big Smoke Brew Co and is only available to buy at the ‘Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen’ in the airport’s departure lounge.

To add an extra touch of sweetness to the celebration, the Bake Off winner created a stunning Victoria sponge birthday cake, designed to replicate the iconic features of the airport.

Measuring almost 30cm high, the three-tier Victoria Sponge birthday cake filled with apricot jam, fresh strawberries and vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, featured LLA’s logo in fondant, a runway running across the cake and a plane on standby.

Candice Brown expressed her delight about the collaboration, saying, “I’m delighted to be invited to celebrate London Luton Airport’s milestone anniversary. Raising a glass of ‘Lift Off 85’ with passengers is a celebratory moment and a heartfelt gesture from the owner of one local establishment to another. It wouldn’t be a birthday without cake, and I hope I’ve captured the essence of the airport in every delicious bite. It’s been an honour to join the team for the celebrations and commemorate the airport's illustrious past while looking forward to an even brighter future. Cheers to 85 years of excellence and many more to come."

From its humble beginnings as a municipal aerodrome in 1938, LLA served as a base for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. After the war, the airport returned to commercial use and, by the 1960s, was playing a key role in the thriving package holiday business. Now established as one of the UK’s leading and busiest airports, LLA currently supports around 27,000 jobs and flies to over 140 destinations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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Following continued investment in the terminal over recent years, passengers can now choose from over 50 exciting shops and restaurants across the airport, with more openings planned, along with a £20 million refurbishment of the airport’s security hall that will provide an enhanced passenger experience.

Clare Armstrong, Head of Guest Experience at London Luton Airport, added, "It was wonderful to welcome Candice to London Luton Airport as part of our 85th birthday celebrations, and her infectious enthusiasm mirrors our own pride in the airport’s continued achievements and our excitement for what lies ahead. Over the last 12 months alone, we have seen the airport receive a historic visit from The King, as well as the transformational launch of the DART shuttle service and Luton Airport Express. We have also seen the arrival of several exciting new shops and restaurants in the LLA terminal, adding to the airport's appeal. Our 85th birthday represents the latest milestone in the airport’s remarkable history and our unwavering commitment to delivering a simple, friendly passenger experience over the exciting years ahead.”

Passengers flying from London Luton Airport can raise a glass to the airport’s 85 years of remarkable achievements at the Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen in the airport’s departure lounge with the specially crafted birthday beer from Wednesday 19th July.

As part of the celebrations, the airport is also offering customers the opportunity to win incredible prizes, including a holiday worth up to £5,000.