FEATURE: Belper couple call time on 60 years of milk delivering

Richard Taylor and Caron Taylor.
Richard Taylor and Caron Taylor.

A Belper husband and wife have delivered their last milk bottle - after over 60 combined years of service.

Richard and Caron Taylor have retired from their rounds at Hilltop Milk supplies, after supplying milk to hundreds of homes in Belper over the years.

Richard started the business after coming from a family of milkmen and women, with Caron joining the business prior to their marriage.

Now, the pair have called it a day and have looked back on their long careers.

Richard, 60, told the 
Belper News: “When I was young I used to help my uncle on his milk rounds, in the school holidays.

“I’ve always loved being outdoors and so when I passed my driving test in the 1970s. I gave it a go and the rest, as they say, is history.

“We’ve only ever had two days off in all that time - and that was for our honeymoon!”

Richard says the couple have delivered their rounds come rain, shine or bitterly cold snow!

He said: “When it’s your own business you’ve got to put in the effort.

“You can’t simply ring up sick.

“We’ve built the business up from scratch and have gone on the rounds despite having colds, ills and all sorts of illnesses.

“I remember one particular winter, in 2010, when it was bitterly cold.

“Me and Caron still went out delivering and we were the only people in Belper delivering milk.

“Sales went through the roof.

“We weren’t delivering pints, we were delivering gallons!”

Richard and Caron, aged 50, are now preparing for their new careers as courier drivers.

Despite the shift in careers, Richard says the premise of the job is relatively similar and that they will still be seeing some familiar faces on their travels.

He added: “We’re moving into the courier business but we’ll be mainly going around Belper so there’ll be plenty of familiar faces.

“I won’t miss the early starts. It will certainly be nice not to have to listen to that alarm!”

• Richard says part of the reason behind his and Caron’s retirement was the uncertainty in the milk market.

Farmers across the country have recently hit the headlines after a number of high-profile stunts aimed at striking a fairer deal from supermarkets.

Richard says the stand-off was a pivotal reason behind him and Caron dissolving the business.

He said: “Obviously there’s been a lot of trouble in the farming industry lately.

“There will be a rise in the price of milk - it’s got to happen and I think the farmers deserve it.

“This was a big reason behind us retiring.

“I just thought that if the price goes up, could my business deal with that?

“We could have stuck it out but it’s a question of how many people will support you once the prices go up.

“I’ve struggled to pass it on so that’s why I dissolved it. I’m born and bred in Belper, but it’s nearly impossible to pass on a milk round in this day and age.”