‘Chocolate Dinosaur’ Mike dies, aged 69

Mike Burt

A well-known former worker at the Fry’s/Cadbury’s chocolate factory in Keynsham has died.

Mike Burt, who was 69, had been suffering from cancer.

He and former work colleague Hugh Evans, together known as the Chocolate Dinosaurs, have given talks, screened films and shared memorabilia with local groups, raising money in the process for the Children’s Hospice South West. To date more than £4,000 has been raised, and it was Mike’s wish that Hugh continues their work.

Mike Burt, who grew up in Hanham, joined Fry’s at the Somerdale site in Keynsham as an apprentice engineer in 1969. He played football for Fry’s and was also a referee.

He later moved to an office role and was retail manager of the shop. He was very involved in the company’s fundraising for Children in Need and with organising visits to the factory for youngsters on a respite holiday with the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line charity. Mike was also involved in a company project to get homeless people into work.

He organised factory tours for families before the closure in 2010. Both Mike and Hugh were involved in the closedown team, including helping to empty the old Fry Club before it moved to the new Somerdale Pavilion. They did two exhibitions about Fry’s/Cadbury’s at the Fry Club that were attended in total by 8,000 people. They also did one at the M Shed in Bristol and others including at Frenchay Village Museum, Avon Valley Railway at Bitton and the old signal box in Warmley.

Remaining as Somerdale custodians when the new Taylor Wimpey estate and St Monica Trust’s Chocolate Quarter were built, Mike and Hugh have taken care of the little park at the entrance to the site.

In 2017 they arranged for the war memorial honouring employees who died in the two world wars to be relocated, along with the memorial to the chocolate company’s founder Joseph Fry, by a few metres to accommodate the creation of the new cycle and walkway in the nearby cutting.

Mike was involved every year with the Remembrance Sunday service held at the war memorial which includes the names of the 136 Fry’s workers who died during the Great War and the 29 names of Second World War service personnel and workers who died in the Blitz.

Mike also voluntary work with Hugh at the Warmley Signal Box and its garden.

Mike was a keen golfer and played golf at Lansdown Golf Club where he was club captain in 2019. In the same year he was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Mike, who lived in North Common, leaves wife Kay, daughters Sam and Sarah, and grandchildren Oscar, Mia and Winnie.

His funeral will be on Wednesday 3rd August at 2pm at Westerleigh Crematorium.