Marshall Pennington has been announced as The Bakers’ Benevolent Society’s chairman of trustees for 2012/13 – his ninth year in a row in the position.

The news was announced at the BBS’ 179th annual general meeting last Thursday (21 June), held at the charity’s headquarters at The Mill House in Epping, Essex.

Pennington, who was previously with bakery ingredients firm British Bakels for 35 years, told British Baker: “It seemed like a natural step because I enjoy the role, and it’s good to see happy smiling faces of the retired bakers and confectioners that we look after. But in my view, those people who have worked for so many years in the industry do not get enough credit for it, because everyone has their daily bread and they don’t give much thought into where it is coming from.”

Founded in 1832, the BBS has provided retirement accommodation for those from the baking industry at its Bakers’ Villas in Epping since 1973. It can accommodate around 60 individuals and provides on-site support, food and activities.

Pennington added: “The people living in the Bakers’ Villas get well looked after, not having to worry about such things as heating, electricity, food and costs for the building, plus there are always people on-site day and night. There are only 60 people here that we are looking after, but it is wonderful that they are happy and safe and that is the main thing.

“We are now in the situation where we make something in the region of £10,000 to £15,000 net a year, which isn’t a lot. But having said that, we spent £25,000 on a new lift, we have revamped three bedsits into one-bedroom apartments, and we had the building double-glazed throughout to name a few.

“It’s awareness now of the BBS that is most important for the future and encouraging younger generations of bakers to support those who have been in the craft for a number of years.”

Coast-to-coast charity cycle

Christopher Tomkins of Kistrucks Bakery in South Woodford is aiming to raise £50,000 for the BBS to install two new lifts into the charity’s Bakers’ Villas.

Tomkins, who recently became a BBS trustee, will embark on a nine-hour 145-mile bike ride on 30 June, travelling from Seascale in Cumbria to Whitby, North Yorkshire. 

Tomkins told British Baker: “I recently became a trustee of the BBS, a very inclusive cause that is a truly caring organisation. The government has tightened all the screws and, in these difficult times, it is difficult for charities to get funding.

“Bakers and the industry as a whole have always been most generous, and this was just a way to highlight the replacement lift programme expected to cost some £50,000. It is, of course, even better if someone volunteers to go through a lot of pain to help.”

Tomkins has accumulated around 250 miles of cycling training per week in preparation for the charity bike ride. He will be setting up a tracker for people to follow his progress on the day, with details of which can be found through the National Association of Master Bakers.

To make a donation, send a cheque for The Bakers’ Benevolent Society to Kistrucks Bakeries, 74 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1JJ.