Couple celebrate doing North Yorkshire milk round for 50 YEARS
A LOVING couple have celebrated their 50th anniversary doing a milk round together – by delivering more than 10 MILLION pints so far. Sprightly Maureen, 83, and Derek Clancy, 84, from Sherburn in Elmet, have devoted half a century to delivering milk each morning – and have yet to take a day off. Their lifelong passion began one morning in 1970 when a sales rep walked into the supermarket which they ran and ‘changed their lives’.
Maureen said the rep had mentioned in passing about a milk round which could fetch them GBP100 a week, which at the time was ‘a little fortune’. Her husband Derek, an engineer, had always wanted to be a business owner and decided to ring Leeds Coop Dairy and was invited to follow a round that weekend. Five decades later, the couple have yet to miss a morning delivery on their run in Sherburn in Elmet, and its surrounding areas, and don’t expect to be stopping anytime soon.
They deliver roughly 4,000 pints of milk to 680 loyal customers each week in their village of just 6,000. Maureen said: “We never thought we’d be here 50 years on – but here we are. “One decision all that time ago changed our lives forever – and I’m so thankful that we did.
“I’ve done milk longer than I’ve done anything in my life, other than my marriage. “I couldn’t imagine a life where I didn’t do this. “I’m 83, but I feel great and I don’t think we’ll be stopping anytime soon.”
In 1970, Maureen and Derek ran a shop near Elland Road which often welcomed Leeds United legend Jack Charlton. But after her husband of 62 years asked if she’d join him on a round, as he ‘couldn’t do it alone’, the couple decided to embark on the journey together. They swapped their Triumph Herald Estate for a VW pickup truck and Maureen says the ‘rest is history’.
Their routine has remained largely unchanged through the years, waking up bright and early at 2am and finishing by 8am. The grandmother-of-four added: “On his first actual day we went together because he didn’t feel he could do it alone. “We had 800 pints, and we went through every house and I continued to follow him on the deliveries each morning.
“I thought I couldn’t let my husband do this on his own. “And it was lovely to work together – we’ve always been together and I couldn’t imagine having anyone else by my side each day.” The pair initially made the 20 mile journey from their home in Leeds to Sherburn in Elmet, which was the only milk round available at the time.
But in 1980 they moved permanently to Sherburn after purchasing some land and building their dream three-bed home, where their children and grandchildren grew up. The mum-of-two said: “I love everything this job has given us. We built our beautiful dream house in the countryside, my children have been brought up out here.
“We haven’t taken any days off. We don’t work the weekends, but we’ve been doing this every morning for 50 years. “It’s the way we live now, but it’s been great because we feel healthy.
“We get up early, we get some exercise and we get loads of fresh air.” The couple have no intention to stop working anytime soon and feel as ‘healthy as ever’. Maureen claims she hadn’t gone to see a GP in years until last year where she got tested as a precaution as many of her friends were beginning to develop various illnesses.
But the doctor told her she had the ‘heart rate of a 21 year old’. Maureen added: “I feel great, and I want to keep going. Milk is all I know.”
During Covid, orders have been flying in and they’ve amassed 160 new customers during the last six months – bringing the total to 680. And to mark their 50th anniversary, Maureen said they received over 400 messages from loyal customers. She added: “They’re not customers anymore, they’re friends.
They’re people we’ve known for 50 years, three generations of families.” Maureen revealed the secret to a long and healthy life is drinking ‘great milk’. She said: “The secret to a healthy life is to go out and get some fresh air as much as you can, exercise and of course drink great milk.”
Maureen’s daughter Jill Midgley, 61, worked with the family for 15 years while their son Martyn Clancy, 41, is primed to take over the business when they eventually retire.
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