Those of us old enough to have had some or all of our primary school years before Margaret Thatcher came to power will share mixed memories of free school milk.

Milk is one of my favourite drinks, but it has to be served chilled, hence I don’t recall particularly enjoying the white stuff we had at school.

The milkman would deliver the crates of glass bottles early in the morning and they languished in the sun in the porch area, gently warming before morning break. By then the milk was unpleasantly warm and this gave it a strange sweet taste. Enjoyment was not improved if you forgot to shake the bottle before opening it and got a mouthful of lumpy cream.

As such it wasn’t a high point in my school day, but there was no choice in the matter. The government had provided it for us to drink and drink it we did, although some was no doubt poured away surreptitiously.

Although I broke an arm recently, the result of a mishap while running with the dog, I would like to think that the milk I had both at school and from my parents’ dairy herd gave strength to my bones and teeth and was generally good for me.

When ‘Mrs Thatcher, Milksnatcher’ abolished the universal free school milk scheme for children aged over seven there was an outcry, but her ‘Iron Lady’ moniker was not for nothing. She ignored the wrath of the dairy industry, stuck to her guns and that was that.

Years passed and along came the Nursery Milk scheme which allowed schoolchildren under five to receive a third of a pint of milk each day free of charge. This lucky generation is blessed with refrigeration, so the milk is served cool.

And then this month came the ‘will they won’t they’ saga with one minister suggesting £50million could be saved from the public finances by ending free milk.

That was followed by a swift response from David Cameron denying that the government intended to axe the scheme.

Although my children are too old to benefit from the scheme I’m delighted the government has seen the light on this issue.

There are many good reasons for children to drink milk and in terms of building bones it’s absolutely key.

For children who do not get a balanced diet high in fruit and vegetables and foods like fish, milk is the only real way of them getting enough calcium.

School-based programmes provide an excellent opportunity to promote milk consumption among children and in so doing they establish a lifetime’s habit.

I think £50million is money well spent and, when compared to the cost of treating people later in life with illnesses related to calcium deficiency, it is surely a small price to pay.