THERE will be no milling about at Andover’s famous flour factory this week.

The build up to pancake day is the busiest time of the year at McDougalls flour mill, with enough flour produced to make 15 million pancakes.

The mill steps up production by 40 per cent with its doors opening seven days a week. This allows an extra 500,000 bags of flour to be created, a weight of 750 tonnes, the same as a Eurostar train.

Pancake day began as a way of using up rich foods such as milk, sugar and eggs before the fasting season of Lent.

McDougalls has helped hold up this tradition since 1864 and while most mills nowadays use automated methods, the Andover factory relies on the skills of well-trained millers such as Andy Tobin.

Andy is a 60-year-old Mill Process Technician with 39 years’ service as a miller. He has passed down his to not only colleagues, but members of his family who have also worked at the site over the years, including three of his brothers, his sister and his daughter.

The family connection to the mill started with his father, who introduced Andy to the business. His then wife-to-be worked alongside him when he first started and his two young grandsons refer to the mill as ‘the castle in the sky’.

Andy still loves the build up to pancake day as much as ever. As well as the 15 million pancakes his work at the mill helps produce, there are 15 hungry grandchildren at home who love his traditional recipe of lemon and a sprinkle of sugar.