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Milkman breaks language barrier by learning Gujarati

John Mather

Here’s one Milkman you can order ‘Desi Anday’ from and he’ll know exactly what you want!. Sixty-nine year-old Blackburn milkman John James Mather commonly known as ‘Jimmy’ has been serving the local community for 50 years.

With a large number of Asian customers Jimmy began learning more about Asian culture including learning the language. His a great command of Gujarati has him helped him become the Milkman of choice with many Asian customers.

Jimmy said:

“When I began in 1960 there used to be handful of Asian families in the region. “I can still remember the first few people I used to serve. They were good decent folk but obviously their English wasn’t good.

“So, I picked it up myself and it made things a whole lot easier.”

“Soon enough it became second nature. I would say I learned from the best – the first wave of immigrants coming to the UK.”

“All I did was listen carefully to what they said and then make a mental note in my head. Next time I just repeated the words. “I would say the first few families I served lived in Balaclava Street and Bold Street in Blackburn.”

Jimmy, who’s family owned a farm in Knuzden, began working as a milkman in 1960 and for 15 years would deliver milk in a horse and cart.

He said:

“When it got cold the only way to warm up your hands was on the saddle!”

Jimmy became a firm favourite with Asian families because he would go out of his way to supply the products they wanted.

He said:

“Back then things like ghee, butter and chapatti flour were really hard to get hold of. “I have to point out I stopped delivering live chickens in 1972!

“Eid and special occasions were wonderful but full of surprises. Once, I turned up to one blokes the day before Eid and he said he wanted 24 crates of milk!

“Over the years I have learnt to love the festivals and I must have been invited to dozens of weddings every year.”

Despite his age Jimmy says he has no plans of retiring. “I love my job and the people I serve.”

When asked about how good his Punjabi was, he replied “Tora bota aa jaa tee hai.”.

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