A BUTCHER described as “the heart of Baildon” is retiring this weekend after more than 33 years serving his loyal customers.
Graham Cullingford will be preparing his chops, cuts and rotisserie chicken one last time before closing the doors of G.Cullingford Butchers on Saturday.
“It’s time,” the 66-year-old said.
Graham has been in the industry for 51 years, starting out at his father’s shop in Bradford Moor as a schoolboy.
But ever since the late 80s, Graham’s butchers has been a popular spot in the town and seen generations of families grow up.
Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus, Graham said: “Age says ‘You’ve got to go’. I’m 66.
“I’ve spent half my life in Baildon. Meeting all the lovely, nice people that you meet. It’s going to be a sad day for me and my customers and the village. It’s never going to be a butchers again.
“We’ve got a lot of friendships built up over the years.
“I have had customers that have been there with me from day one. They’ve stuck with me through thick and thin.
“I live in Baildon now, I moved to Baildon with the shop. I’ll still stay part of the community, I’ll be able to go to the pub!”
In a message to his customers, Graham said: “Thank you for the support over the last 33 years, a lot of loyal customers that have supported me over the past 30 years. They’ve been very loyal.”
Graham is hoping to spend more time in North Hampton with his two children and three grandchildren.
When asked what he is planning to get up to in retirement, he said: “Not a lot; just rest, just chilling out for a long time and seeing more of our grandchildren and family.”
One of Graham’s long-standing customers and friend, Victoria Kirk, has expressed her love for the shop.
“He’s the heart of Baildon – everybody knows him,” Victoria says.
“He’s been there 33 years so he’s seen generations of families grow up in Baildon.
“He’s going to be missed. He’ll miss the customers as much as they’ll miss him.”
The shop has been sold and is set to become a letting agents, Graham said.