Butcher closes shop after 66 years behind the counter
- Credit: Archant
A stalwart of Wymondham has hung up his apron and retired after 66 years at his family-run butchers.
Peter Parke is set to enjoy a well-earned rest having worked his very last day at Peter Thomas Parke butchers on Saturday.
Since first getting behind the counter at the age of 19 in 1954, Mr Parke has been in the shop almost every day - becoming a firm favourite across Wymondham in the process.
Now 85 years old, he has taken the difficult decision to say goodbye to his loyal customers and close the business.
As he was inundated with well-wishers on his final day, Mr Parke said: “It’s been a hard decision but it had to happen one day and now feels like the right time.
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“My customers were the main reason I kept going until now, but Covid has meant I can’t have my usual chats and laughs as customers are served outside. Age has caught up with me and I’m not as fast as I was when I was 19.
“I can’t say I’m looking forward to retirement as I have always enjoyed working, but I’m sure I will soon get used to it. I expect my wife will have lots of jobs lined up for me.
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“I will miss all my customers and would like to thank them for their support over the years and for all the gifts, cards, drawings, poems and handmade animals from the children. It’s been overwhelming.”
Mr Parke’s commitment to the business over the years has been clear for all to see, famously only ever taking one holiday - to Clacton-on-Sea for his honeymoon in 1957.
And on Saturday, in recognition of his tireless service, he received a civic award from the mayor of Wymondham.
Mr Parke’s daughter, Jill Taylor, said bidding farewell to the shop was tough for the whole family.
“My grandad started the business and dad worked with him before going into the army to do national service,” said Mrs Taylor. “Dad then carried it on and it stayed in the family.
“My grandmother worked in there, my sister works there. As a baby, my sister would be parked in the shop in her pram - we grew up there and we have always been in the shop, so it’s a very sad day.”