SHOEMAKER Desmond Pinnock is making his last-ever pair of shoes – for grandson and professional dancer Rohan Pinnock-Hamilton.
Mr Pinnock, a dad-of-10, who lives in Westbourne Road, Marsh, made a living from shoemaking in his native Jamaica.
But after coming to Britain and settling in Huddersfield in the late 1950s Mr Pinnock, 86, left his old skills behind.
However, he is currently making a pair of leather dress shoes for London-based actor and dancer Rohan.
Rohan, a former Rastrick High School student, launched a successful stage career after winning a scholarship at the Urdang Academy in London’s Covent Garden.
He has since gone on to land roles in Mary Poppins, the River Dance World Tour, Hair Spray and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat.
Widower Mr Pinnock, who has 22 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, has made hundreds of pairs of shoes in his time.
“These are going to be a great pair of shoes and I hope Rohan wears them with pride,” said Mr Pinnock.
“I have finished one of them but I still need to find the right leather for the sole and heel of the other. Leather is very expensive and much harder to work with than I am used to.”
Mr Pinnock decided at school that he wanted to make shoes.
He walked past a shoemaker’s workshop every day but the shoemaker said he would have to pay to be his apprentice.
Eventually after he left school at 16, the shoemaker took him on.
“I spent eight years with him before I opened my own business,” recalled Mr Pinnock.
“Everything was fine and trade was good until people started emigrating and all my customers started leaving.”
Britain was seeking new sources of labour and an influx of people arrived from Jamaica.
Mr Pinnock, who had a wife Caroline and five children at the time, didn’t want to leave but felt he had no choice.
He joined the exodus and worked in local textile mills before becoming a bus driver and working in the taxi and motor trade.
“A friend promised to bring over my shoemaking tools but they never arrived,” said Mr Pinnock.
“I have only made a few pairs since I came to Britain but it’s getting too much for me now. This will be my last pair.”
Mr Pinnock’s wife and children followed him to Britain a couple of years after he arrived and five more children were born here.
The Pinnock clan is huge and there were 55 relatives at the family home in Marsh on Christmas Day!
“We have a big family but I love them all,” said Mr Pinnock. “The grandchildren and great-grandchildren help keep me young.”