An Interview with Dennis and Marion Camp.
originally written in the Henham monthly Dragon magazine
For many residents of Henham the milk on our doorsteps is a service we take for granted. However, the facts I knew were few and far between and it was for this reason that I went to see Dennis and Marion for some more information.
The Camp family have been delivering milk for over a hundred years. Originally it was delivered by horse and cart, in churns, three times a day. The dairy herd was initially at Lovecotes Farm and then later the milk came from Jim Smith’s farm at Henham Lodge.
Milk was bottled at Yarrow Cottage for some years.
When Dennis and his father Bill took over in 1970s milk was the equivalent of 4 pence a pint, now it is 56 pence.
On a typical day Dennis and Marion get up at 2.00am, so that the milk can be fresh for use that day. They are often finished by 7.30 a.m. They have never failed to deliver, although they have had to resort to the tractor and trailer when the snow has stopped the normal delivery vehicle.
The service is environmentally friendly making maximum usage of the glass bottles. The milk is British:-apparently a lot of supermarket milk comes from France.
The round covers all of Henham, Old Mead Road, Henham Road, Cherry Green and the road to Thaxted as far as the turning to Horham Hall.
Dennis is a fountain of knowledge. Did you know, for example, that there is a Spitfire which came down in World War 2 in a lake at Debden?
Sadly the number of new customers has dwindled over the years, but they are always keen to take on new customers.
On enquiring how they always managed to remain cheerful the Camps’ told me about the pleasure of seeing the wildlife before the rest of the population are around. Highlights include 76 Roe deer in one viewing, a grass snake curled up snugly in an empty milk bottle, badgers walking down the footpath, and a fox friendly enough to take no notice of their approach. Dennis was reluctant to tell me about the early morning antics of the human population!
They have no immediate plans to retire, but it will be a sad day when the Camp name is no longer associated with such a special and reliable service.