St Albans milkman proves he has a lot of bottle after winning national award

Neil Garner

Neil Garner - Credit: Archant

Milkie Neil Garner has come of age in his profession - and won a national award at the same time.

Neil Garner

Neil Garner - Credit: Archant

The St Albans milkman, who has been delivering daily pintas for 21 years, has been recognised for going above and beyond his normal duty.

Neil, 56, has been crowned Milkman of the Year by customers of milk&more, a competition launched by the company to find the best milkmen and women and highlight all they do for their communities.

Last year Neil noticed smoke coming from a house that wasn’t on his round and quickly informed the homeowner that her chimney was almost on fire, preventing a blaze breaking out.

He often has to call the police when he sees stray horses wandering on the road and has reported youths who were stealing car wheels.

In addition, he helps elderly customers with small household jobs while on his round - moving wheelie bins, posting letters and taking lids off jars for more vulnerable customers.

Over the 21 years that he has been delivering rounds, Neil has seen almost 6,000 sunrises and delivered 5,152,000 pints of milk.

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His ‘day’ starts at midnight when his alarm goes off. He then cycles nine and a half miles from his home to the milk depot in Watford where he loads up his electric milk float.

He drives back to St Albans to deliver the first pint of milk at 2.30am, working until around 10.30am, by which time he had delivered around 870 pints of milk to homes.

Finally he drives back to Watford to drop off the electric float and cycles back home.

The job was supposed to be just temporary until he found something else after he was made redundant by British Aerospace but he loved it so much that he stayed on.

Neil said: “Winning this award is a real privilege and I’m over the moon about it. It’s great to be recognised for doing the job I love.

“The hours can be testing but I have the world to myself when it’s that early in the morning and I love it. I’d like to thank my customers for voting for me – it’s a real honour.”

Neil beat 1,250 other milkmen and women across the country to take the title.