WHEN Roy Goggs started work at the corner shop, England was being blitzed by German bombs.
And now, 70 years on, the Crosland Moor man is still working away in the same shop.
Roy, 80, said: “I’ve stuck at it because I enjoy my job. I like meeting people.”
He began work at the shop on the corner of Dryclough Road and Blackmoorfoot Road in Crosland Moor aged 10.
Roy, who grew up on Ivy Street, said: “I was the youngest of three brothers so I used to get their old bikes. I wanted a new bike so I went to the shop and asked the owner, George Symes, if I could work for him.
“I was only a small lad in short pants so he told me to clear off. The next week I came back with a wheelbarrow and he took me on for 10 shillings a week.”
Roy started out as an errand boy, delivering groceries and flowers around the streets of Crosland Moor. He said: “I used to get a tip from every house I visited, a piece of cake or something like that.
“It was long before supermarkets started and I used to deliver to Fartown and Birkby as well.”
Roy remembers his old boss fondly. He said: “George Symes was quite a character. He was an Irishman who always wore a pork pie hat and bow-tie. Every morning I would put the goods out and make him a cup of tea while he sat there picking his winners for the day’s races.”
Mr Symes died in 1953, leaving half the shop to Roy and the other half to his daughter.
Roy said: “She wasn’t interested so I bought her out. I’ve changed the shop a little bit, put in some bay windows to make it look a bit bigger.”
Roy, who lives on Blackmoorfoot Road, is still going in 2010 – but the trade is not what it was.
He said: “It was a good business but it’s slowly got less and less. Last year I had to make the girl who works for me redundant unfortunately. It isn’t easy because there are five mini-markets round me so I’ve tried to diversify.
“I’ve started stocking herbal tonics from Ireland and Canada which have been popular.
“But we lose trade when older people die because the younger ones shop in supermarkets.”
Despite the problems, Roy has no immediate plans to sell up. He said: “I’ve no plans to retire. As long as I can get a little bit extra on top of my pension, I’ll be happy.
“I always said I would pack it in if it got stressful but I’m happy here.”
Roy is also a keen sportsman who has been a member of Crosland Heath Golf Club at Crosland Hill for the last 56 years.
A past president of the club, he still enjoys golfing trips with friends. Roy said: “For years we had golfing holidays to Spain and Portugal but when my passport ran out I didn’t renew it and now I stick to golf trips in the UK.
“Breaks of three or four days are just ideal. Foxton Hall, in Northumberland, Hawkstone Park and Formby Hall are courses I like to play, so roll on summer.”
Roy’s wife Valerie Jean, 76, is also a keen golfer and has been a Crosland Heath member for 57 years. He said: “She loves golf, in fact, she plays more than I do – often four times a week.”
Roy was also a keen runner in his youth – once defeating future world record mile runner Derek Ibbotson.
He said: “We were both in Longwood Harriers in the 1950s. I remember beating Derek in the track championship in 1952 over a quarter of a mile. He was a miler but I was a quarter miler.”