Family pays tribute to ‘loving family man’

Bernard Bennett
Bernard Bennett

THE FAMILY of a Hodthorpe dad, who passed away suddenly at his home, has paid tribute to ‘a loving family man’.

Bernard Bennett was found at his home on King Street on the afternoon of 8th February this year, aged 71.

The former milkman was a popular character in the area, having undertaken his morning rounds for more than 30 years before his retirement in the early 1990s.

An inquest into his death at Chesterfield Coroner’s Court on Tuesday revealed he suffered from long-term depression.

The family said Bernard never told them the extent of his problem.

“He would never, ever have said anything to us. It’s just the man he was. He would not have wanted to put that on us,” said his daughter, Kathryn.

“All he ever cared about was us - his wife, his kids and his grandkids.”

The family recalled a time when they would accompany Bernard on his milk rounds: “We remember going out with him to help him to deliver the milk.”

“We used to have to get up about 5am - it was so cold in the winter, we’ve never been as cold in all my life - and sometimes he wouldn’t get back until gone 4pm on a Saturday.”

“He worked all the hours God sent. The only days off he would get would be Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.”

Bernard was born in Lincoln and moved to the area at a young age, attending both Whitwell and Hodthorpe primary schools. From leaving school, he worked alongside surveyors at Whitwell Colliery before becoming the local milkman.

“He was a sociable man before he was diagnosed with depression. He enjoyed the company of others and as long as everyone was okay he would be happy,” said the family.

A family man, who lived for this wife, children and grandchildren, Bernard loved to watch cowboy films and soaps with his wife Sandra.

He also loved to get his hands dirty, Kathryn added: “He loved taking cars to pieces and fixing them up. He would spend hours and hours underneath car bonnets.”

Bernard is survived by his wife Sandra, daughter Kathryn Bennett and sons Robert Bennett, Michael Pickwell, Anthony Pickwell and Andrew Pickwell.

Deputy Coroner for North Derbyshire Nigel Anderson returned an open verdict.