A bakery’s pie expert is celebrating two major achievements in his career – 30 years with the firm and making millions of award-winning products.

Kerry Wilson who joined the Wrexham-based Village Bakery straight from school in 1990 was among a baker’s dozen of staff to receive long service awards.

Vouchers for £250 were presented to each of them by company chairman Alan Jones who bought the former Edwards bakery in Coedpoeth with his father back in 1964.

His trailblazing vision transformed a small back street bakery with five employees into a multi-award winning business with a work force of more than 400 people.

The family firm supplies high quality products to some of the best known names in UK retail as well as making their own acclaimed branded goods which are sold in independent stores across North Wales and the Marches.

These days the company is run day-to-day by two of his sons, managing director Robin and projects director Christien.

Kerry, the pie room manager at their bakery in Minera, has enjoyed every minute of his 30 years with the Village Bakery.

He said: “I started in Park Road and it has been quite a ride. The company has enjoyed fantastic success – fair play to Alan, Robin and Christien. We’re going from strength to strength.

“It’s good to see all these people here today and I think the minimum time we’ve all been here is 20 years which tells you a lot about the company, something that’s helped us win many awards over the years.

“Our recipe for success is making really tasty quality products and that’s down to using high quality ingredients allied to our skills as craft bakers.

“The secret of a good pie is using the best meat – all our beef and lamb is Welsh and it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Debbie Edwards, who works in the office, has also been with the Village Bakery for 30 years.

She said: “The time has flown. Working here is more than a job – it’s just like a family.  I just can’t see myself going anywhere else.

“It’s lovely that they said that the success of the company was all about the staff but at the end of the day, if you didn’t have great bosses you wouldn’t have great workers. The culture of the company is set at the top.”

It was a sentiment echoed by production worker Denise Matthews who has been with the Village Bakery for 28 years.

She said: “I was 24 when I started here and it’s been lovely and the presentation today was very kind of them.”

Alan Jones calculated that the 13 people receiving awards had clocked up 320 years’ service between them.

He said: “Wonderful people like this are the backbone of the Village Bakery and our success has been built on their dedication, loyalty and skill.

“If you get the best ingredients, whether it’s making a loaf or whether it’s a person, then you’ve got the perfect product. We’re very proud of our team, whether that’s our production operatives, office staff, our delivery drivers or the people in the other roles who all pull together.

“In the early days we started with five of us using a coke fired oven but there have been some fantastic advances in terms of the technology and equipment we use.

“But we have stayed true to our core principles as craft bakers and our determination to make the best possible products, combined with great service and reliable delivery.

“We’re proud of the team who work here – you’re only as good as the people who work for you at the end of the day.

“We’ve got a great heritage and I’m sure we’ve got a fantastic future ahead of us as well.”

Robin added: “The fact that we have so many people who have stayed here for so long tells you a lot about the Village Bakery and how happy a ship it is.

“They’re our secret ingredient, and that’s the type of thing that you don’t find in recipe books.

“From the early days, dad has always insisted that quality is king and we’re just continuing the next stage in the development.

“Although things have changed a lot since the family took over the business in 1964, there are certain things that remain constant. We are still very much focused on making the best products.

“We’ve got great people who help us to do that day in, day out. When there was a huge spike in demand because of Covid, these guys were working every hour under the sun and they delivered which was amazing.

“They deserve our thanks and recognition – they are real heroes and it’s lovely to celebrate with them today.”