Cheese-packer Keith Crews thinks the world of his job – and to prove it he’s cycled 37,600 miles, one and a half times the Earth’s circumference to and from work at South Caernarfon Creameries for 25 years.
Music fan Keith is one of four loyal employees who have chalked up over 100 years with the award-winning farmer-owned cheesemaker near Pwllheli.
Joining him in celebrating 25 years’ service are Supply Chain Manager Bryn Davies, from Pwllheli, Prepack Team Leader Meic Roberts, from Pentreuchaf, and fellow Prepack Operator Ken Jones, from Pentrefelin.
All four joined the company in 1995 and Keith has cycled the four miles to and from work every day since then and demonstrated his two-wheeled skills in winning a 20-mile SCC charity cycle race, finishing before some of the field had reached halfway.
At about the same time as Keith started Bryn Davies was also beginning his career at the cheesemaker less than auspiciously when he jammed his delivery lorry under a low bridge in Barmouth.
He said: “There were five or six Chinese tourists taking photos so I let the air out of the tyres and asked them to get in the back to get some weight in the lorry to lower it to reverse out.”
That quick-thinking got the lorry out of a jam but not Bryn as a police officer came upon the incident and handed him a careless driving booking which cost him three points and a fine.
Meic Roberts, a keen golfer and motorcyclist, also joined in 1995, with the job of waxing truckles of cheese for the Christmas market and he said: “There have been massive changes since I started with the development of the business and investment in new machines and automation.
“The growth is show in howe many people work here now – we used to have about ten on the packing line but now it’s closer to 40.”
Ken Jones is another of the 1995 intake and he started on the production line and did some cleaning along with everyone else at the end of the shift.
He said: “I will do anything that needs to be done, though I don’t like standing in one place for too long but jobs are rotated regularly and there’s lots of fun and laughter to be had with the guys.”
SCC Managing Director Alan Wyn Jones said: “We are a key employer in the local area and so it’s good to recognise when staff reach a notable milestone in their careers with us.
“Our people are committed and loyal and we’re grateful to them for their contribution, hard work and commitment to the company over a century of service and we hope they will stay with us for many years to come.
“SCC’s continuing growth and success has been built on a loyal and adaptable workforce and that will continue into the future.”
South Caernarfon Creameries was founded in 1938 with an initial 63 producer-members and has now grown to be Wales’s premier dairy company supplying its cheese to the UK’s major supermarkets as well as to international markets.
Last year its products, led by its popular Dragon Cheese brand, won over 80 awards, including 20 golds, at some of the UK’s most prestigious food and agricultural shows and represented Wales at the Salon du Fromage in Paris.
For more information on South Caernarfon Creameries go to https://sccwales.co.uk/