Sidmouth baker hangs up apron after 42 years

Shelia and Martin Kerridge are retiring from Vinnicombes bakers after forty two years. Ref shs 8898-

Shelia and Martin Kerridge are retiring from Vinnicombes bakers after forty two years. Ref shs 8898-48-14TI Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

After 42 years of early mornings, kneading dough and crafting pastries, a master baker and his wife are hanging up their aprons for a well deserved lie-in.

Martin and Sheila Kerridge expect an emotional afternoon when they shut up shop for their last time at Vinnicombe’s tomorrow (Saturday), before a new owner takes over on Monday.

The couple have run the business for most of their 45-year marriage so say retirement will take some getting used to.

“I want to say thank you to all of our customers for the 42 years we’ve been trading,” said Sheila.

“It doesn’t feel that long – it’s been a way of life for us. I’m glad we are retiring, but it will be tinged with sadness.

“We knew straight away it was the right business, and it turned out we were absolutely right. We couldn’t have wished for a better working life.”

They moved from Essex to Sidford when they bought Vinnicombe’s with Martin’s brother, Trevor, and his wife, Elaine.

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It was established by master baker James Vinnicombe in 1912, but there had been a bakery at the Church Street site since the 1700s.

The Kerridges decided to expand their business and, in 1983, they bought Broughtons’ Bakery, in High Street. The two couples ended their business partnership in 1995.

Although competition from large chains brought about the closure of their Sidford shop, Sheila said high street shopping is back on the rise.

Customers are again keen to know that manufacturers care as much about their food as they do. Martin still gets up at 3am six days a week, because ‘you can’t rush bread’.

Martin, 67, and Sheila, 65, plan to stay in Windsor Mead, Sidford, and will continue to frequent Vinnicombe’s. Neither knows how they will spend their retirement. They have two children, Tobie and Tamasin.

Sheila said Vinnicombe’s new owner plans to keep on all the staff so customers should see a smooth transition.

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