A dedicated milkman has been forced to retire from the job he loved after a masked thug brutally attacked him and stole his van.
The 65-year-old, from Littleborough, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was hoping to celebrate his 50 years in the trade in the next few months but has now decided to leave his job.
John Kershaw was brutally battered with a baseball bat after being pulled out of his van by a masked thief on Easter Monday (22 April). The devastated man was taken to Oldham General Hospital after he received intense injuries over his body and face.
The grandfather-of-four, unfortunately, had another van robbed in January this year.
At the time, he decided to retire from his duties as a milkman but continued to complete his 50-year anniversary, which would’ve come around in August.
But this time, John has made up his mind.
The dad-of-two decided to explain the reason behind his retirement to his 200 customers by having his 64-year-old wife, Jill, a retired NHS worker, write a letter to them.
“I had my van stolen three months ago in a different attack,” John said. “I could have retired last year but I really wanted it to make it to 50 years in the trade.
“Making it to 50 was always my goal so it’s a shame I’ve not been able to make it. But I just thought to myself I can’t got on.”
John was halfway through his Monday’s shift when a balaclava-clad thug attacked him and drove off with the float.
“I had just got in my car when this man in a balaclava just reached for the door,” John said. “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. I had a bum bag on round my waist at the time, which had a spare set of keys in.
“He rifled through that before yelling, ‘Give me the keys – you’re old, man, I don’t want to have to kill you.’ Then he got in the car and drove off.
“When I went to the hospital the doctors did a CT scan and all the works.
“As I was waiting for them to examine me I realized one of my teeth was very loose. I haven’t fractured anything but I came out of there very bruised and battered.”
After the incident, John decided to call it a day. He asked his daughter Helen, 40, and plumber son John Henry Kershaw, 34, to deliver the letters to his customers.
“I thought it [hand-writing the letter] was a nicer touch than for it to be typed out so I dictated to Jill what I wanted to say,” John said.
“I then signed it. She wrote it out four times on a piece of paper and we photocopied it 50 times.
“Jill then cut them up and I got my children to go round to all the customers I’ve served for years. It started as a family business and I suppose in a way it’s ended like that.
“I’ve got someone who I think will be a good fit to take over the business.”
John joined his family milking business after leaving school in 1969. Since then, the dedicated milkman has been delivering milk to the people of Rochdale and has never missed a single shift in his service spanning five decades.
“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,” he said of his business.
“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 spokesperson of Greater Manchester Police told LADbible: “The victim, a man in his 60’s, was approached by an unknown man who demanded he hand over the keys to his vehicle. The offender then assaulted the victim with a baseball bat before stealing his vehicle – a silver Vauxhall combi van.
“The offender is described as white, around 5ft 6ins tall. He was wearing black clothing and a balaclava.