Loyal Luke Evans Bakery employee Phil Tomlinson has retired from the Derbyshire bakery after 47 years with the company.

General manager Phil, known to his colleagues and customers as Sam, joined the business as a Saturday boy at the age of 13 – earning £1 a day.

He has worked for a number of generations of the Luke Evans family, starting with the fourth generation, Joe Evans, who was at the helm in 1965.

Now 60, Phil has decided to retire from the Riddings-based bakery and said: “As far as I’m concerned, I have been good for Luke Evans and Luke Evans has been good for me. I have enjoyed it – it’s been fantastic.”

Phil, who lives at South Normanton with his wife Denise, a mobile hairdresser, has no concrete plans for his retirement, but hopes to spend more time with his two-year-old granddaughter Laila and has promised to help his daughter Rachael convert her new house in Somercotes.

David Yates, managing director of Luke Evans Bakery, said: “Phil, or Sam as we call him, has been a tremendously loyal colleague to us all, and we wish him all the best in retirement. He’s seen lots of changes since he joined us in 1965 and met many customers, who I am sure will join me in congratulating him on his long service and in wishing him well for the future.”

Phil’s retirement has sparked a number of changes to the management team at Luke Evans Bakery, which was founded in 1804 and supplies bread and cakes across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire.

Mark Dance, who joined Luke Evans as a van lad in 1987 before becoming a driver, becomes transport manager.

Craig Storer, who has been at Luke Evans since the age of 16 in 1991, becomes sales manager for the bakery. He previously worked as a driver and then joined the despatch team.

The new despatch manager is Simon Orme, who joined the company in 1989 as a van lad at the age of 16. He went on to become a driver, before moving to pastures new, and then returning 15 years ago when he joined the despatch team.

“I’d like to congratulate Mark, Craig and Simon, who between them have worked for Luke Evans Bakery for many years – all starting as van lads,” said David Yates.

“I have great confidence in the new management team and it’s great to be able to promote from internally – especially as they have grown with the business.”

Phil swapped his six-day a week paper round in Leabrooks which earnt him 15 shillings a week for his £1 a day Saturday job at Luke Evans Bakery when he was 13.

After leaving school he became a van lad at the age of 15, before later working in despatch.

He especially enjoyed his time in sales, he said.

“When I first started we delivered to shops but also door to door. We used to pull up on various housing estates in places like Somercotes and Riddings – just like a mobile shop,” said Phil, who was given the nickname of Sam by colleagues when he was a teenager and it’s stuck throughout his working life.

Luke Evans Bakery sells direct to the public from its shop in Greenhill Lane, Riddings, and also supplies around 300 trade and wholesale customers across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire, including shops, cafes, schools, delis and Pride Park – the home of Derby County Football Club.

Fully trained craft bakers operate 24 hours a day turning out breads, cakes and savoury products from farmhouse loaves and bread rolls to fresh cream éclairs and iced buns.

For more information visit www.lukeevans.co.uk

Issued by Nottingham PR company Perfect 10 PR www.perfect10pr.co.uk