BBC News

Is Llanfoist milkman Martin Court Wales' hardest-working?

image captionMartin delivers to about 350 houses across Monmouthshire

Most workers might look forward to a holiday now that spring is here. Not Martin Court.

The hard-working milkman from Llanfoist in Monmouthshire says he has worked seven days a week for the past 50 years.

Not only has he never taken a single holiday, but says he has only had one day off - back in the blizzards of 1982 - when snow drifts were so high he was unable to move his truck.

Martin said: "I love my job. I like meeting people and chatting. You get to know some great characters.

"I like being out in the fresh air, too. It's what keeps me healthy. I never have colds or the flu, so I don't need to miss my round."

Martin began work in 1967 at the age of 18, straight after leaving school.

Initially he worked on a farm near Pontypool, milking cows then delivering milk. Three years later, he began his own milk round.

He said: "Initially I delivered to 12 houses in Mamhilad, bringing them milk, eggs, orange juice and weekly and Sunday newspapers.

"But then I moved to Llanfoist 38 years ago and my round grew. I now deliver seven days a week to around 350 houses in the Usk and Abergavenny region.

"And it shows no sign of stopping - just in the past fortnight, I've had six new houses signing up.

"People seem to want to go back to glass bottles instead of using plastic, which is good news for me as well as the environment."

image captionMartin Court with his truck he used for delivering milk

Martin's heavy routine sees him sleep just a few hours a night - his milk is delivered at 1:00 from a farm in Hereford and he gets up at 03:30 to begin his round, often finishing at 14:00.

He said: "People often ask me whether I want a day off or a holiday. But I'm not interested and, luckily, neither is my wife.

"We're happy with what we've got. We've got no need to go anywhere else. You don't miss what you don't have."

This dedication has seen Martin deliver his milk through terrible winter weather.

"I usually deliver in the snow, even if I have to abandon my truck and walk a mile or two across fields in big snow drifts.

"I once climbed up the massive hill in Upper Llanover to get to the Goose and Cuckoo pub, but I slipped on the ice and broke all my bottles.

"I've even delivered to houses that have been flooded, wading through the water in my wellies, then helping them move furniture upstairs.

"There was just one day I couldn't get out, in the terrible blizzards of 1982 that shut down most of Wales. I tried my best but there was no chance. My truck wasn't a 4x4 back then."

Martin has become a well-known figure in the area and says he has had some customers on his books for nearly five decades.

It was one of these customers - Ross Murray of the Llanover Estate - who, on hearing how hard Martin has worked throughout his life - wrote to Buckingham Palace explaining the story.

Martin has since been invited to the Queen's garden party for his hard work.

Martin, who has no plans of retiring any time soon, said: "We're very excited to go, especially my wife."

True to style, however, his customers needn't worry.

"I've got it all planned," he said. "The party is in the afternoon, so I'll have time to do my milk round in the morning then head up to London.

"Then I'll be coming back that night so will be able to do my milk round the following day too.

"No one will go without their milk - just the way I like it."

Related Topics

  • Dairy farming
  • Pontypool
  • Usk
  • Llanover
  • Mamhilad
  • Abergavenny

More on this story

  • Milkman 'inundated' with calls for milk in glass bottles