Donald retires after 61 years

Family Butcher, Donald Gill, retired after 61 years in the business, Town Hall Street, Sowerby Bridge
Family Butcher, Donald Gill, retired after 61 years in the business, Town Hall Street, Sowerby Bridge

A prominent family butcher has hung up his apron for the last time after 61 years serving the people of Sowerby Bridge.

Donald Gill, 76, left school in 1951 and began working as an apprentice butcher at the Co-op in the town.

After two years serving in army, he returned to the butchers shop on Town Hall Street as a relief manager.

He then bought the business himself in 1969 and continued to run it until last Saturday, when he call time on a career spanning seven decades.

Donald said that he was sad to be leaving the business.

“I am sad, but I’m 76 now and you can’t go on forever,” he said.

“I’m sure I’ll miss it a bit and I’ll miss the people I’ve got to know well over the years.

“I’ve never missed a day of work because I was ill in all of those 61 years.

“Even on the days when you don’t feel so good I came in because there was nobody else to run the business and the meat would go off if it wasn’t sold on that day.

Donald has got to know hundreds of people in Sowerby Bridge and could be the longest serving butcher in all of Calderdale.

“The customers I serve nowadays used to come into the shop with their mothers and grandparents, so it’s been a family business for a long time.

“I don’t know for sure if I’m the longest serving butcher but I could well be.”

On his last morning of business, Donald’s shop was inundated with customers coming to buy their meat off him for the last time - and to wish him a happy retirement.

“I would like to thank all the loyal customers who have stuck with me over the years and I wish them all the best for the future,” he said.

“My sons have been trying to get me to retire for a long time but my supplier is finishing too so that made the decision for me in a way”, he said.

Donald and his wife of 45 years, Mary, have booked holidays to Blackpool and Turkey.

“I hope me and Mary can enjoy some happy and healthy year together,” he said.

“After our holidays I’m sure I’ll come back and keep myself busy,” he said.