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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”.