Golden days for butch­ers

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - CHRIS GEE chris.gee@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @RossFreePress

AFAMILY butch­ers is celebrating half a cen­tury in busi­ness with its owner still serving be­hind the counter.

D Gregory & Sons Butch­ers in Bacup was orig­i­nally es­tab­lished in Burn­ley Road, Bacup, by Derek Gregory, who started off as a Satur­day lad at a Stack­steads shop.

He then moved to Bacup to work full-time at Ralph Tat­ter­sall Fam­ily Butch­ers, be­fore tak­ing over the busi­ness 50 years ago. The shop moved to its cur­rent lo­ca­tion on St James Street in 1997.

Derek, 74, con­tin­ues to main­tain a hands-on role, as does his wife and piemaker-in-chief Ann, 69. The cou­ple work Wed­nes­day, Thurs­day, Fri­days and Satur­day morn­ings.

Derek has seen many changes in the in­dus­try, the town and shop­ping habits down the years.

He said: “It’s hard to be­lieve that when I started there used to be no less than 13 butch­ers shops in Bacup, plus three mo­bile butch­ers. We are now the last re­main­ing town cen­tre re­tail shop - and we’ve still got a hand­ful of cus­tomers who have been shop­ping with us since we opened.”

The cou­ple’s son Philip has been in­volved in the busi­ness since leav­ing school and now man­ages the shop with his wife Tracy while their other son Garry runs the fam­ily farm in Weir.

Derek says cus­tomers’ tastes have changed with life­styles. He said: “When we opened we only pro­duced one type of sausage, which was a sim­ple pork one. Now we do 13 dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties ac­cord­ing to changing tastes.

“Back in the 60s and 70s peo­ple bought a lot more diced meat for pies and stews. A lot of house­holds would reg­u­larly bake sev­eral times a week and fam­ily meals would be slow cooked dur­ing the day but there has been a de­cline in that. There has also been a mas­sive in­crease over the years in the amount of chicken we sell.”

An­other as­pect of the shop which has ex­panded is Ann’s home-pro­duced meat and pork pies. Her pork pie has won the spe­cial­ity pie com­pe­ti­tion staged along­side Skip­ton Auc­tion Mart’s Christ­mas fat­stock shows for the past two years.

Derek, twice pres­i­dent of Rossendale Butch­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, marked the spe­cial an­niver­sary by pay­ing close to £2,750 for two prize win- ning heifers at Skip­ton Auc­tion Mart’s March prime cat­tle show and sale.

They also have a brand­new shop frontage as part of Bacup’s town­scape her­itage ini­tia­tive.

Beef­ing up their land­mark 50th an­niver­sary at D Gregory & Sons Butch­ers in Bacup are, from left, Tracy, Derek, Philip, Garry and Ann Gregory, and Jeanette Styles and (in­set) Derek Gregory dur­ing his time as pres­i­dent of Rossendale Butch­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion

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