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Geoff retires after 55 years in bakeries; But pensioner has no plans to loaf around all day.

Byline: SAM CASEY

GEOFF Phillips has certainly earned his crust.

After 55 years' devoted service to Huddersfield's bakery trade, there's not a lot he doesn't know about bread.

But as the grandfather-of-18 approaches his 75th birthday, and after more than half a century of 4.30am starts, he has finally decided to take a well-deserved break.

Geoff, of Sharp Royd in Almondbury, said: "I'm sad to leave. I'm fit and healthy, I like the job and like meeting people.

"I didn't really want to finish and I think I could have done a few more years, but it was time to move on."

Geoff, who was born in Marsden, got into the trade as a 19-year-old after completing his National Service with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, based in Aldershot.

Having returned to Huddersfield, where he took up residence in Birkby, he saw an advert in the Examiner for a driver at H Calam Ltd in Sheepridge.

Geoff said: "I walked up there from Birkby and Mr Calam said 'well, lad, if you're prepared to walk from Birkby to Sheepridge for a job, you can have it'."

He worked his way up from driver to sales manager within 15 years and continued to serve the company until it closed down in 1990.

From there he took a position as a driver for Ennis' bakery in Barnsley, taking many of his loyal customers from Huddersfield with him.

Eight years later Ennis' went bust. But Philip Newsome, who ran P Newsome's in Kirkburton and helped Geoff get the job in Barnsley, had a vacancy.

The day after he left Ennis' Geoff was working for Mr Newsome as a driver, out of his premises on North Street. He has worked there ever since.

Mr Newsome said: "He's as honest and reliable a man as you could want - a pillar of society.

"He was punctual, conscientious and I don't think he ever had a day off sick.

"We will miss him terribly." Geoff will now spend time with wife of 54 years, Jacqueline, 74.

But he has no intention of loafing about. "I like my garden, I do some photography and I have started mountain biking," he said.

CAPTION(S):

DAILY BREAD: Geoff Phillips with his last batch of bread from the ovens and, top right, with staff from the bakery on North Road Kirkburton
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 5, 2010
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