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A TRULY dedicated milkman is to park up his float after 37 years on the rounds.Brian Girling, who only missed one day in all those years of setting off at 2am, is bidding farewell to his loyal customers.

A TRULY dedicated milkman is to park up his float after 37 years on the rounds.

Brian Girling, who only missed one day in all those years of setting off at 2am, is bidding farewell to his loyal customers.

And in return, Mr Girling's friends and customers in Martlesham Heath have clubbed together to give him a fitting send-off - including around £2,500 towards a holiday.

Hundreds of people turned up to the leaving party held in Mr Girling's honour at St Michael's Church, Martlesham Heath, yesterday .


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Not only did they present him with a cheque, but also with flowers, cakes and framed photographs.

Mr Girling first joined the Ipswich and Norwich Co-op when he was around 15 years old.

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But at the age of 27, after having worked in the grocery department, he decided to become a milkman.

Mr Girling, now aged 64, who lives in Selkirk Road, Ipswich, with his wife Diana, 57, has served Martlesham Heath since around 1976 and has plenty of fond memories.

He said: "It was just a few houses then and you had to wait until more houses were built before you could get your customers.

"Old ladies have asked me to change their lightbulbs, turn over their mattresses and post letters for them.

"One year, in 1981, the ground was so thick with snow that nobody could get around the village, but I got in and out. It was determination.

"The customers came out and helped clear the road with shovels so I could get in and they gave me toast and flasks of soup and coffee.

"In all my life I have only missed one day of my milk round and that was in 1987 when there was really heavy snow.

"I love the fresh air and I don't mind the cold weather or the hot weather. My customers, who are not my customers but my friends, have all been pleasant to me and have looked after me."

Mr Girling, who sets off at 2am and cycles the two miles to Ipswich's Derby Road dairy six days a week, is due to work his last day as a milkman on October 29.

The Ipswich Town fan, who has only missed two home games since becoming a season-ticket holder in 1962, said: "I am looking forward to retiring, but I am going to miss everybody because part of my social life is being a milkman."

Mr Girling, who was shocked by the turnout to his leaving party, added: "I am overwhelmed and very touched.

"The money is going to go towards a holiday abroad for me and my wife. I should like to go to New Zealand."

Do you have memories of Brian Girling? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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