A milkman who never missed a shift in 50 years has been forced to retire after a masked thief beat him up with a baseball bat and stole his float.
John Kershaw, 65, was pulled out of his van and attacked by a masked thug during his morning round on Easter Monday.
The grandfather, who was treated at Oldham General Hospital, has now quit delivering milk four months before his official 50-year anniversary in the trade.
Mr Kershaw, from Littleborough, Rochdale, said: “I had just got in my car when this man in a balaclava just reached for the door. He pulled me out and dragged me across the floor.
“I decided to keep a baseball bat in the van after the last attack. I went in to get it but he grabbed it off me and started beating me with it.
“It was a good few minutes but it felt like forever.”
The milkman wrote a note to all the residents in Rochdale where he delivers the milk.
The note reads: “Dear Customer and Friend. It is with regret that I must retire from delivering your milk. It is a job that I have done nearly 50 years having taken over from my mum and dad.
“Unfortunately, I have had my van stolen again and beaten quite badly trying to stop him stealing it. I am in talks with a friend of mine, who hopefully will take over the business.
“I would like to thank you for your support over the many years. Kind Regards, John.”
Mr Kershaw left school in 1969 to join the family milking business, set up by dad Dennis Kershaw in 1953.
Speaking about his job, Mr Kershaw said: “It’s always a job I’ve enjoyed doing. Both my mum and dad delivered milk so it’s something which has always been close to my heart.
“People do appreciate getting their milk delivered to the doorstep.
“I always tried to do it early as if you deliver it after 7:30am you’ll be hit by the traffic which isn’t helpful to people taking their kids to school and those going to work.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up by horrified customers hoping to raise cash for the committed milkman.