AN EXPERT miller has reflected on his long-service and passing on expertise.

Launched by brothers in 1864, McDougalls has become synonymous with home-baking and the love of the product has become a family affair.

Andy Tobin, aged 60, has been with the company for 39 years, serving as a miller, and has lived in Andover all of his life.

Since joining McDougalls in 1975 he has worked in numerous roles, starting as a mill cleaner, moving onto become an assistant and is now a mill process technician.

Throughout the near four decades, Andy is not only proud to have provided and passed down his skills to colleagues but members of his own family who have also worked at the site.

The mill has become a “central and important part” of his family’s wellbeing, with three of his brothers, his sister and his daughter having all worked at the site.

The family connection to the mill stretches all the way to his two young grandsons, who refer to the mill as ‘The White Castle’.

He said: “Andover Mill has been a massive part of my life , where I have had some 10 members of my family all working here over the years including my mum and dad inclusive of 3 generations also (my Dad, Myself , My Daughter) .Currently now I’m the last link remaining.

“My father ‘introduced’ (as it was back then) myself into the mill where he passed on his knowledge of milling and expertise down to not only myself but others also, and currently I’m handing down this knowledge to the present milling apprentice on site also.

“My future ‘wife-to-be’ worked alongside me when I first started then we went on to have four children and now have some 15 grandchildren.

“ It speaks volumes when you take into account the years of service among the staff here as several on site are in their 30 plus years of service also, I have witnessed the changes over the years including remodelling of the mill / packing plant , however the ‘main’ structure and appearance of the site remain the same.”

‘’One of the biggest changes is how Health n Safety has evolved over the years in the industry for the good of personnel.”

Of the 41 employees at the mill a large number of them have worked there all their life, resulting in “real sense of ownership for the mill which is considered a landmark within the town”, the business says.

A spokesman for the company said: “Andover relies on the skills of well-trained colleagues to make sure the mill is meeting standards and producing excellent, quality grade flour, a process that continues 24 hours, five days a week.

“Andover makes self-raising and plain triple X flour via traditional milling methods and machinery, whereas a lot of mills nowadays use automated methods, Andover relies on the skills of well-trained colleagues such as Andy to keep this vital process alive.

“This year the mill will produce 46,000 tonnes of flour, with ten lorry loads leaving the mill each day on their supply journeys.”