A POPULAR butcher who has dedicated his career to his family business has hung up his cleaver after 57 years.

A.Tootell butchers in Golborne closed for business after 58 years of trading on Saturday.

It was opened by Ambrose Tootell who moved into the town in 1950 with his wife Amy and their two sons Alan and Keith.

Alan started working at the Heath Street shop at the age of 14 when he used to deliver food to 56 addresses every Saturday.

He took control of the store when his dad died in the early 1980s and has worked there ever since along with his wife Janet.

At one stage in her career, Janet juggled shifts during the day at the butchers and at night as a care worker at Hourigan House care home in Leigh for 16 years.

On the couple's last day at work their son Andrew, 42, invited Golborne Brass Band to the shop to play a few songs for them including the Open All Hours theme tune with reference to the two characters Alan was named after.

Granddad-of-two Alan, 72, who lives in a flat above the shop with Janet, said: "It was a bit of a shock to the system to see the band turn up and I really enjoyed it.

"I worked there for 57 years and people did not really believe I would ever retire.

"Andrew said if I ever decided to he would organise for Golborne Brass Band to play for me.

"When I first started work I used to get called Granville for all the running round I did and in recent years I have been known as the boss Arkright so that's why they played the Open All Hours theme tune.

"The band were great, you couldn't move in the street for the amount of people who were there.

"There were many who got emotional on the last day and we had lots of gifts dropped off to us such as flowers and chocolates.

"I have had lots of nice comments with people saying it has been a pleasure to be served by us and I've never had any complaints about the food."

Alan is unsure of how he and Janet, 69, who have been married for 48 years, will be spending their retirement at the moment.

Alan added: "Working at the shop has been my life and it has been a really hard with the hours I have done.

"We were open six days a week and I would also come in on a Sunday when we were closed to set up for the next day.

"I will miss all the banter I had with customers and I want to thank them all for their help over the years."

The couple plan to put the shop up for sale and find a buyer in the new year.

Their son, university lecturer Andrew, said: "My dad has always helpied people over the years.

"He would take orders to elderly members of the community and keep a look out for them.

"I am also grateful because the hard work that has been put into the shop has supported my education."