End of the round for Jill after 40 years

End of an era for milk round customers in rural Axe Valley.

Jill Collier, from Summerleaze Farm, delivered her last pints of milk at the end of last week.

For 40 years, she braved all winds and weathers to keep the round going.

The 62-year-old said: “I have just had enough and I am too old. With all the bad weather, it was a worry whether we were going to get around, never mind do all of the deliveries.

“But we never missed a day - not even with all the snow.

The milk round was originally started by her husband, Michael, but Jill took over the deliveries when her children went to school. Although, it has been a family affair with everyone mucking in to help.

Jill has been delivering milk to doorsteps across Kilmington, Whitford and the other outlining villages, including Shute.

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She added: “I like being involved with the village and you get to meet all the people and are able to help them.

“A lot of older people don’t see anybody to talk to so it is important for them. I think, for some of them, it is quite important otherwise how else would they have got their milk?”

She has been helped by her friend Gill Perkins, who will also be retiring after 30 years. The pair met at an ante-natal class when they were having their second children.

The 60-year-old said: “I shall miss seeing people and the company. I’ll miss the company of Jill, as we have been friends for 37 years.

“I think the time has come to stop.”

The service the grandmothers provide will be sadly missed by the community. Jill said: “A lot of people have said they are sorry we are giving up and they have been very generous. They realise a couple of pensioners delivering milk is a bit much.

“I think we have been pretty lucky with our customers, as they have been very loyal.

“They have helped us and we have helped them when they have needed it.

“It is time we had a life for ourselves, as it is quite a commitment with all the early mornings.

“There is part of me that does feel sad, but, like I said, it is time to move on and have some time for me.

“All good things come to an end.”

Jill hopes to be able to spend more time with her family, especially her six grandchildren, and will also be helping out on the farm.

She said: “I won’t miss the early mornings and the bad weather, but I will miss the friendship of people around and some of the gorgeous sun rises we have seen, and the wildlife we see as we go around.”

“I want to thank everybody for all their support over the years and give a special thanks to Gill.”

The milk round will now be taken over by Dairy Crest.