John “Jimmy” Mather first delivered milk in 1960 and soon made friends with a few immigrants from India and Bangladesh. And, as more Asian families settled in with very little or no knowledge of English, this British milkman started learning their language and mastered spoken Gujarati and Bengali, the Daily Express reported.
“When I began in 1960 there used to be a handful of Asian families in the region. I can still remember the first few people I served. They were good, decent folk but obviously their English wasn’t good. So I picked it up myself and it made things a whole lot easier,” he said.
Prof Rachel Dwyer, an expert in Indian cultures, said: “Very few non-Indians learn Gujarati. I have heard of a few Arab traders in Oman and there’s few scholars who know it.”
Locals too confirmed that Jimmy has built lasting bonds in the community.
Said MigrationWatch UK spokesman Alp Mehmet: “Gujarati is not an easy language for a westerner to master and this is also in the best traditions of the English milkman who looks for the best ways to serve his customer.”