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End of an era for Dereham milkman

PUBLISHED: 18:25 26 September 2008 | UPDATED: 14:44 07 July 2010

Kathryn Cross

It is a time when most of us are fast asleep in our beds but for the past 37 years one Norfolk couple have been up and ready for work at 3am.

But tomorrow morning is the last early start for David and Rosemary Adcock as they are retiring from their milk round.

It is a time when most of us are fast asleep in our beds but for the past 37 years one Norfolk couple have been up and ready for work at 3am.

But tomorrow morning is the last early start for David and Rosemary Adcock as they are retiring from their milk round.

The couple set up Toftwood Dairy, near Dereham, after the farmer who used to deliver the milk in the village decided to give up.

Mr Adcock's father was the cowman and he has old photographs of both his parents delivering milk with a horse and cart. He started helping out when he was just 16.

“The farmer used to bottle the milk himself and take it round but when he gave up the dairy cows he asked me if I wanted to do it,” he said. “So I built the business up but over the past 10 or 15 years it has declined because more people are getting their milk from the supermarket.”

Mr Adcock went motorised when he set up the business, first with a Bedford van, then a Transit and finally an electric float. He used to get the milk from Unigate and then the Milk Marketing Board in Norwich before transferring to Dairy Crest which is taking over the round from next week.

“It has provided a lovely life for us,” he said. “We have enjoyed meeting all our customers. You can't beat it in the morning, talking to them and hearing their tales. You get to see their children grow and move on. Yes, you can also keep an eye on people and if you notice anything wrong then you can say something - it's all part of the job.”

Mr Adcock said their two sons used to help out with the round but were not interested in taking it on. “Once they left sixth form they didn't want to know any more. They wanted to make their own way in life and we understand that.”

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