IT was the only workplace their father ever knew.
But the children of Brian Wood have had to say a fond farewell to Highburton Co-op.
The village store – possibly the oldest independent shop in the world – will close its doors today after 153 years.
The news of the Co-op’s demise is particularly sad for Judith Hanson, whose late father Brian Wood worked there for 47 years.
Judith, who lives in Lancashire, returned to the village store this week to say goodbye.
She said: “It was very sad. I’m glad he’s not here to see it to be honest. It would break his heart to see the shop close down.”
The store, which is the only shop in the village, was founded by Highburton Co-operative Society in 1856.
Two years ago the society held talks with Wooldale Co-op to merge the two stores, but the deal fell through.
And now the owners of the Moor Lane store have decided to close the shop because of the credit crunch and increasing competition from supermarkets. Five staff will lose their jobs while villagers will now have to travel to Kirkburton to shop.
Judith, 55, said: “There will be nothing left in Highburton which I think is a crying shame. The people in the village will be sorry they didn’t support the shop.”
Brian was born in Shelley in 1925 and started out as a flour boy at the Highburton Co-op in 1939. He spent his entire working life there, except for four years wartime service in the Army.
Brian became manager in 1964 and retired in 1990 after 47 years at the store. He died in October 2001.
Judith, who grew up in Kirkburton, has fond childhood memories of the shop.
She said: “I used to go to Highburton Junior School and I can remember going round to the shop at midday and waiting half an hour for my dad to finish. Then we’d walk home and have dinner.
“I can still see him now, with the long stick with a nail on the end that he would use to get things from high shelves. Even 50 years on, I can still picture the old bacon machine.
“He used to drop off groceries for old ladies as well. The shop was my dad’s life. My mum used to joke that he should move his bed in there.”
Judith visited the shop last Sunday with her twin brothers Kevin and Ian, 50. Their mother Marjorie, who died in March 2001, also worked at the Co-op.