An award-winning butcher who started helping out on Accrington Market at the age of 14 is celebrating a remarkable 60 years in the trade.
George Cropper, 74, worked at Sutton’s Family Butchers for 15 years before taking it over and setting up his own business G&D Cropper Family Butchers.
The father-of-two was joined by his brother David for 25 years at their indoor Accrington Market stall before taking the reins on his own for the last two decades.
George is now celebrating six decades at the Market Hall, but still welcomes customers that he first served as a teenager.
He recalled: “When I started there were 11 butchers stalls.
“Next to us were McManus’s and Watkinson’s.
“There’s been a lot of changes since then. It was a lot busier and we sold more lambs in a day than we now do in a month.
“There were 20-odd lads who left school together at the same time and that was in the day when lads were lads.
"Some of the things we got up to, I shouldn’t say. There were some great characters but most of them have gone now.”
George, from Rising Bridge, joined the market after leaving school in Haslingden and sells produce from his farms in Long Preston and Hapton.
He said: “I was always interested in farming so it worked well being on the stall. We still sell beef and lamb produced from our own farms.
“I’ve had a lot of customers with me since I left school. I’ve seen three generations grow up.
“We still have some couples coming to us who are in their 90s who were there when I started out.
“I just want to keep going as long as I can. I enjoy coming and socialising with people and seeing the same customers every week.”
George’s daughter Clare Cropper is now following in her father’s footsteps after joining the business 12 months ago and is already making her mark in the butcher world.
Last month Clare, 25, became the youngest ever winner at the Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate when she won the titles for champion commercial heifer and overall champion commercial beef animal.
Clare, who lives in Long Preston, said: “I’ve been coming down here since I was old enough to walk.
“I enjoy being here. It seems a shame to give it all up when my dad has made such a good job of it for so long.”