A small rural business has invested £1m in expansion and taken on more staff despite the looming recession.

But Stephen and Jane Baughan, the owners of Aston Pottery in the west Oxfordshire village near Bampton, are “fulfilling a dream” they have had since they started up in 1990.

The investment programme has quadrupled the size of the premises and they have also taken on 15 new staff, bringing the total workforce to 40.

Some of the staff have been taken on to run a new on-site cafe.

Mrs Baughan said: “It is a very large project for us. We started in January this year and since then we had had all this doom and gloom. But, once you’ve started, you have to go ahead and finish. We are keeping our fingers crossed. It is all looking good and we are keeping positive.”

Aston Pottery has a range of 125 different designs in two ranges, and produces made-to-order ceramics and one-off commissions.