Wisbech milkman retires after 60 years and over 7 million pints

A milkman has dropped off his last ever pint - after spending 60 years delivering more than seven MILLION pints of the white stuff.

Thursday, 12th April 2018, 9:43 am
Updated Thursday, 12th April 2018, 9:51 am
Wisbech milkman Christopher Ketteringham

Christopher Ketteringham, 74, from Wisbech, took over his father's business when he was just a teenager - and has only ever taken 13 days off work.

The early riser has spent six decades delivering 400 pints a day - and is now looking forward to putting his feet up and having milk brought to his front door. .

Christopher said: "It's funny, I used to deliver milk and now the milkman will deliver to me.

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Wisbech milkman Christopher Ketteringham

"Meeting the people has got to be the highlight for me – I had some lovely customers and I was in tears on my last day and so were they. It was very emotional.

"People keep telling me they wish I would carry on, but you can't go on forever!

""I started delivering milk when I was 14 about half an hour before school, then I worked with my father on the milk round and he passed it on to me.

"My father started work as soon as he left school - he just went to the local shop and they gave him a job - then he turned it into a business.

Wisbech milkman Christopher Ketteringham

“You get to know people as your friends. Sometimes for elderly people you can be the only face that they see all day.

"So you have a chat and go in and put the milk in the fridge and look after them."

The grandfather-of-two has taken less than two weeks off from his round, around 25 years ago - and that was when he was stuck in hospital.

He said: "I never didn't go to work - I'd work in all weather, with the flu, you name it.

"In the whole time I was working, I only had 13 days off - and that was when I has a stone stuck in my bladder, my whole face was yellow!

"I used to work seven days a week - I changed that to six days a week when I got married, about 40 years ago."

Christopher and his wife Bridget, 72, who have one son called Philip, 43, used to run a grocery store alongside the dairy business.

Christopher said that he had spent his younger years waking up at 3 30am - but that, as the early hours took their toll, he shifted to a 5am start to his day.

He also said that he is not a fan of plastic bottles, and that he only delivered and still only buys milk in glass bottles.

Christopher added: "It's not only a shame that we've moved to plastic bottles, it's also a tragedy for the environment.

"You only need to read what they say in papers these days to know how bad plastic is for the environment.

"Microplastics are in everything now - they're even in the milk that we drink, and in the water - they're in every liquid!

"You know, glass can be used and used and used and used and used - until it can't be used anymore.

"I can't quite say how many times glass bottles can be used, but there are usually scratches on the bottles before they take them out of production!"

Christopher said he had even potentially saved lives from his quick-thinking when he would notice that milk bottles had been sat on doorsteps for a few days.

He said: “There’s been times when I would call the police or an ambulance out too, especially when you go and see milk still left outside for a few days.

"You literally save lives, but you don’t want any recognition for it because you’re just doing your job.

“The round had shrunk after many years but there were still people who wanted milk delivered to their doors.

"There was still the demand although it doesn’t happen very often. I’ll still see everyone around even if it won’t be the same."

Christopher said that he will be filling his newfound hours by tending to his bees and rehearsing for shows in his amateur dramatics society.

Loyal customer of around 40 years Mary Brady, 68, praised Chris for his hard work in the community.

She said: “Chris was absolutely reliable, out in all weathers and up at the crack of dawn six days a week - he will be missed.”

Christopher, who dropped off his last pint on Easter Sunday.