Michael Bogg – Obituary

Michael Bogg, 1942 – 2011

Another well-known Slingsby character died at the end of March this year. Michael Bogg, the Slingsby milkman, was found unconscious in his delivery van at his dairy at Rye Hills. He died a day later in York hospital. ‘Boggy’ was born in Slingsby and lived here all his life. He was 69 when he died, and had been the local milk delivery man in the village and the surrounding villages for over 50 years. He attended Slingsby School and his first paid job was farm boy at Beck Farm in Railway Street, aged 10. The Holder family took over the farm soon after, giving his coveted job to Noel, their oldest son, who was the same age. He than worked as a farm boy on the Lange family farm at South Holme Farm. Michel and Noel used to fight like cat and dog, until they eventually became firm friends, continuing to meet up weekly until Michael died.

Michael took on the milk business at the age of 18, and later took over other rounds in the surrounding area, until he was selling about 250 gallons of milk per day. Despite his somewhat wayward delivery habits in recent years, he was an extremely organised and efficient businessman in his younger days. As well as his milk delivery business, he also worked for BATA, and had a sideline in fattening bull calves for beef, which he kept around the area in rented sheds. He also kept up to 1,000 pigs, some of which he kept in the semi derelict buildings at Grange Farm at Fryton.

Michael’s passion was for horse racing and he attended meetings across the north of England as often as he could, with the occasional visit to the Cheltenham Festival. Local jockey Mark Birch used to get him a pass and take him along in a car full of fellow jockeys to northern meetings, which he adored. Always keen for a good tip, his van was seen regularly parked outside the turf accountants in Malton. Outings to race meetings were also an excuse to indulge his other passion: that of a good dinner. His favourite was a jumbo sized mixed grill. Described by his friends as ‘a good doer’, he also enjoyed cooking and liked to roast a large chicken with full range of veg, which he would consume by himself in one sitting.

Michael owned a rare penny farthing bicycle, bought after its previous Slingsby owner Robert Dosser died. He mastered the near impossible task of riding this precarious iron beast, and was seen around the village on it.  He finally sold it about twelve years ago in a local antiques auction, where it created much interest.

He was a kind man, devoted to his friends. He particularly liked children, always carrying a ready supply of biscuits and chocolate cream eggs to give to his younger friends. For his adult friends, produce from his vegetable patch would appear mysteriously on back door steps.  He was devoted to his parents and his aunt in Norton whom he visited regularly. The erratic hours he kept for milk delivery began after his mother died.  Fearing his almost blind father would get into mischief if left alone, he would wait until he was safely in bed before setting out on the milk round. He discovered the peace of being out when no one else was about. He could stop and watch a hare, fox’ owl or deer. Little escaped his eye as he travelled around the lanes. Recently his van almost became his home, as he often slept in it, parked in field entrances. His large frame and severe arthritis made movement in and out of the van extremely painful and difficult.

Many customers thoughtfully positioned the empties where he could reach them with the minimum of movement. He was determined to keep going, and those who knew him well agree that his life ended as he would have wanted, still out and about in his van and still very much part of the local scene.

Margaret Mackinder,

with thanks to Noel Holder, Joyce Birch, David and Barbara Borrett, Peter Smithson, Geoff Dean and Stephen Prest, Mary Snowball, Julia Snowball, Kathleen Lange and Freda Ware.


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