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Hawley's milkman of human kindness retires after more than 40 years

PUBLISHED: 15:40 01 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:02 03 February 2016

John Digges

John Digges

Archant

John Digges first started in 1972

After more than 40 years delivering to streets across south London, a Hawley milkman has called it a day.

John Digges, from Mill Road, first started in 1972, only planning to stay on for Christmas, but would then spend the next four decades delivering milk door to door, delivering his last bottle on Saturday.

Amongst his many memories, none shine brighter than meeting his wife while doing deliveries.

Mr Digges, who moved to Bexleyheath in his teens, explained: “I first met my wife Mary when she was planning on cancelling her milk.

“I’d see her walking up the street to the station and we got talking, I said to her ‘don’t cancel your milk, let me buy you a drink instead’ and it worked.”

With the couple now retired, they’re readying themselves to jet off to St Lucia later this month.

But the 61-year-old, who would usually get up at around 1am, said he would miss the early starts and customers.

He said: “I’m sad to see it go, it’s a great pleasure to have worked there for so long.

“The people are fantastic, they aren’t customers they are friends. The last time I counted I’d received something like 166 retirement cards.

“You don’t realise how much people appreciate you until you call it a day.

“I’ve been very fortunate, since I joined I was never made redundant, even during the recession, and when they started doing three days a week instead of seven like when I first started.

“But now I’m looking forward to setting off to St Lucia to get a bit of sunshine.”

Having driven to Northumberland Heath, Erith every day to pick up his quota, the grandfather can now look to the future and the birth of his second grandchild.

He said: “I already have a grandson, with a granddaughter on the way, being able to spend time with them its like a whole new world.”

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