A DEDICATED dad is celebrating 60 years of service at one of the most famous jam factories in the world.

This week marks 60 years of loyal service for David Cross at Wilkin and Sons in Tiptree – the renowned makers of Tiptree jam.

David was just 15 when he started working with Charlie Challis in the box room at the factory on January 4, 1960.

He then progressed to the crate room where the fruit is checked and cleaned ahead of the jam-making process.

Now in his mid 70s, David is still on site at 6.30am.

He likes to thinks of himself as a ‘gofer’ in the workplace as he knows where everything is and can find anything will have an item with you at the drop of a hat.

He can always be found clearing up mess and helping people wherever he can.Company chairman Walter Scott, chairman of Wilkin & Sons, marked David’s special anniversary by presenting him with a cake.

On top of the cake was a message which read ‘Marking sixty years of loyal distinguished service’.

Friends and colleagues joined in with the celebration.

Walter Mr Scott said: “When David joined us we only had two television channels and they were black and white.

“In those days they used to put little boys up chimneys, so as David was little he was set to work cleaning the boiler chimneys.

“When I joined in 1985 he was in charge of the crate room. We paced it together when his daughter was due to be born.

“Now that daughter is on maternity leave from our company.”

Mr Scott thanked him both personally and on behalf of the company for his service and his loyalty.

Several of the old pieces of equipment that David worked on when he was first with the company, such as the cherry stoner, are now be seen in the Tiptree Museum in Factory Hill.

David was born in Easthorpe and now lives in Tiptree.

Ten years ago he was Asked about his best times at Tiptree, and his response is the same today he said: “The people you get to work with and have a laugh with – that’s what makes it special.”

The first Tiptree conserves were made in 1885 on the Tiptree estate. Fruit crops include loganberries, mulberries and damsons with the signature fruit being the Little Scarlet strawberry.