Video: Neville's fond farewell to Co-op

A CO-OP worker who began his career as a bread delivery boy is retiring after 50 years of loyal service.

A CO-OP worker who began his career as a bread delivery boy is retiring after 50 years of loyal service.

Neville Backhouse bade a fond farewell to his colleagues as he undertook his final shift in the East of England Co-Op's distribution centre in Ipswich yesterday.

Celebrating his 65th birthday today Mr Backhouse, will now start a new chapter in his life, after working solidly for the company since 1958.

The senior warehouse operative at the company's East Anglian distribution centre on the Boss Hall Industrial Estate was presented with a personalised barometer and a collection by his colleagues in recognition of his service.

He began his career with the company straight from leaving school, three days before his 15th birthday, delivering bread and groceries by van to Framlingham from the Cauldwell Hall Road Co-op Bakery.

When he turned 18 he moved on to the Paul Road Warehouse in Ipswich, where he spent the next 23 years, working his way up to a supervisory role. In 1984 he transferred to the warehouse on the Boss Hall Industrial Estate - which employs around 200 people.

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The father of two of Shetland Close, Ipswich said he felt a real accomplishment in meeting the milestone and had been overwhelmed by the surprise send-off his colleagues organised yesterday.

He said: “They are such a good crowd of buddies really. Many of them I have known for quite a long while. I will miss it.”

He said there are still people he meets in Framlingham who can remember him as a delivery boy and he has witnessed many changes in his time at the company.

His now plans to make the most of his bus pass by indulging his passion to travel.

David Fuller, the assistant warehouse manager, said: “Neville's attendance record here is second to none ever since I have known him.

“It is not the most rewarding job in the world but Neville has always just got on with it.

“If I had 25 people like Neville I could get rid of most of the workforce!”

Mr Backhouse's son James, 30, drove around photographing Co-op stores and buildings around East Anglia for a collage that was presented to his father at the ceremony.

He said: “There are not many people in the world who will work for 50 years, let alone 50 years for the same firm.

“It has not just been work to him, it has been his life.”

His wife Pearl, 61, said he was known for cycling in to work on his moped and would always come home and say about how he made people laugh with his jokes.

Bob Littlejohn, 62, who has worked alongside Mr Backhouse since 1973, said: “He has been one of the best really. He has not got a bad word for anyone. He has been a joy to work with.”

n. Do you know Neville? What are your memories of him? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email

What was happening in 1958?

Harold MacMillan was Prime Minister.

Bolton Wanderers won the FA Cup beating Manchester United 2-0 in the final.

A horse called Mr What won the Grand National.

Floyd Patterson was the boxing heavy weight champion of the world.

Mike Hawthorn was the world motor racing champion.

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