After 60 years and delivering more than seven million pints Wisbech milkman Christopher Ketteringham has finally parked up is milk float and is taking a well-earned rest.
The 74-year-old dropped off his last pinta on Easter Saturday and is now enjoying the luxury of having his own milk delivered to his doorstep.
Christopher, who began his days of delivering the white stuff as a teenager helping his dad Hugh with his milk round, has covered countless miles around Wisbech over the last six decades delivering more than 400 pints a day.
Up at 3.30am for many years, before changing his daily start time to 5am, he would not only deliver milk to his customers but also a chat and a helping hand if needed.
He said: “I’m not going to miss the early mornings but I am going to miss my customers. Meeting them has been the highlight for me. It was never just about delivering milk, but about having a chat and if they needed a helping hand giving that too. It was nice to be ale to help people and was all part of the job for me.”
Christopher celebrates his golden wedding anniversary with wife Bridget, who used to run a grocery shop in Park Road alongside the dairy business, next month.
He has slowly been preparing for his retirement cutting his work days from six down to five.
He has rarely had a holiday in all his years on the rounds, and has only had 14 days off sick in 60 years and 11 of those were all at once when he suffered a gallstone getting stuck in his bile duct.
“I was quite poorly and bright yellow and had to have time off. Other than that I have hardly had a day off, I’m always busy and I think that’s what has kept me healthy. I rarely get a cold, and if I do they are gone in no time,” said Christopher, who is a well-known face as part of both March and Wisbech operatic societies.
In fact he is performing this week with Upwell Gilbert and Sullivan Society in a production of the Mikado.
“I may have retired but I don’t intend to stop, I have 43 bee hives to look after and I will carry on singing. I have been doing that for about 60 years and I still enjoy performing. I’m only part of the chorus in the Mikado but I have had bigger parts in the past. One of my favourites was performing in Jesus Christ Superstar in St Peter’s Church - it was brilliant,” said Christopher, who has one son Philip, who has decided not to follow in the family milkman tradition and is instead a computer engineer.
Christopher added: “I had some lovely customers and I was in tears on my last day and so were they. It was very emotional - but you can’t go on forever.”