Doorstep milk deliveries drying up in Cheltenham
DOOR-TO-DOOR milk deliveries in Cheltenham have come a step closer to dying out.
It follows the decision of Woodlands Farm in Chedworth to stop its service this year, which it has been running since the late Cecil Finch started it in 1928.
His son, Nigel, has told his 188 customers in Cheltenham that his company will cease delivering from December 29.
And that, he said, would leave Cotteswold Dairy as the only firm still offering a doorstep delivery service in the town.
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Mr Finch told his customers: "It is with a very heavy heart that I am writing this Christmas letter as we have finally had to make the decision to cease our door to door deliveries on the 29th of December.
"Even with our increasing the price to you, we have continued to lose money over the past year and we realise that cost is vital to you.
"Clearly, you can buy much cheaper milk elsewhere, though, I venture to add, not as assured a product.
"We are desperately sorry. You have been such long and loyal customers and we feel we are letting you down."
Mr Finch told the Echo: "It was a very sad decision we had to make but we lost money over the last 12 months and possibly longer. One just can't afford to do it any more."
He said the company was unable to compete with the supermarkets in terms of price, thought he argued that Woodlands Farm's milk was of a better quality as it had total control over its production.
He added he definitely felt the door-to-door delivery of milk was dying out in Gloucestershire but stressed that his company would still produce just as much milk once it had finished that service.
He said much of it would go to a dairy in London and some would still be sold at his farm shop, along with other dairy products such as yoghurt.
One Woodlands Farm customer for 26 years, Zena Giles, said she thought the end of the delivery service was "really sad news".
She said: "Their service has always been fantastic and they've got through in all weathers.
"The milk has always been fantastic quality and the newsletters we got over the years were always informative and with a bit of fun in them too.
"I made a conscious decision to continue having a doorstep delivery many years ago, regardless of the fact I could buy milk cheaper and by the bucket load at the supermarkets.
"I believe strongly that it's a vital service for so many older people and we should keep it going.
"While I will still be able to pop out of my front door to pick up my pint, courtesy of Cotteswold Dairy, I will be very, very sad to say goodbye to the fabulous team at Woodlands."