HE HAS been in the meat trade man and boy.
But next week Huddersfield’s John Milnes will put down his cleaver and close the door on the butchery business that has been in the family for more than 70 years.
S Milnes High Class Butchers on Longley Road, Lowerhouses, closes on Saturday.
Mr Milnes, 60, started working there as a 15-year-old. He later took over the running of the business from its founder, his father Sidney.
He said: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of my working life. I’m a people person and feel extremely sad to be leaving and guilty in a way for the customers.
“A lot of them are heartbroken. Some of them have been coming here for 50 years and have been so loyal.
“If someone was taking the business over I wouldn’t feel as bad, but no-one wants to take it on.”
Sidney Milnes started renting premises at the top of Longley Road in 1935, despite a warning that it was up against fierce competition from Biltcliffe’s butchers and the Co-op.
At the time the upstairs room was leased out to the Baptist chapel.
Sidney went on to buy the shop outright in 1950 and John started as an apprentice after leaving school.
John took over running the business in 1979, but his father continued to work there three days a week until he died.
“Things have changed quite a lot,” John said.
“When my father started they didn’t refrigerate food; they just used a cold room. Things have changed for the better in that respect.”
But he added that the community had changed as well.
“There was a post office, bakery and green grocers when we started,” he said. “We are the last shop left. I even offered to give it away if someone would take it on, but no-one wants to take this kind of business on.
“I have worked six days a week, 52 weeks a year, for the last 30 years and haven’t had a holiday. No-one wants to do that now.”
Mr Milnes said he and wife Linda would be spending their retirement gardening, travelling and visiting family.
And he paid tribute to Nicky McCluskey, who has been his assistant for the last 10 years.
“I couldn’t have done it without her,” he said.