The longest running independent milk delivery service in the Vale is hanging up its bottles - after being priced out of the game by supermarkets.
Bond Brothers was established in 1901 and serves Whitchurch, Oving, Pitchcott, Dunton, Hogeston, Hardwick and Weedon.
Founder Fred Bond, the great, great grandfather of current milkmen Ashley, 60, Andrew, 55 and Guy, 53 used to milk the cows by hand twice a day, and make his deliveries by horse and cart.
The brothers’ father Patrick introduced his wife Peggy to the family trade when they married in 1951, and his sons helped on the round from an early age from Crabsgrove Farm Dairy and later Manor Farm in Whitchurch.
The family still owns Manor Farm, but sold the milking herd in 1971, switching to supplier Ron Miller Dairies in Aylesbury.
With heavy hearts, the trio admit that they can no longer justify delivering to the 350 customers they serve, as they can’t compete with supermarket prices.
Guy said: “We really are part of the community and want people to know that this will carry on.
“Over the years we have found dead people, people who have had a fall, discovered fires and even helped people with heavy lifting. But times have changed, and now if you approach a younger person who has just moved into the area and say do you want your milk delivered they look at you as if you are strange.
“The modern generation just aren’t used to having a milk man.”
He added: “It really is sad for the older generation, the supermarkets sell four pints of milk for £1, but the elderly only want one, the supermarkets don’t care about them. Once they have the monopoly and there are no milkmen left they will put the prices up.”
Mum Peggy remembers churning the milk and cream by hand, as well as working on the farm and carrying out daily deliveries to homes.
She said: “It was really hard work, we used to deliver twice a day at the start.
“If anyone had a baby we used to bring the milk after 6pm so that the milk was as fresh as possible. I can’t even imagine that level of service from a company today.”
The last Bond Brothers delivery will take place on September 5, and negotiations are underway to find a replacement service for customers.