All the meat is locally sourced, with quality pork supplied by James Law of Bacup, who is well-known locally for rearing and slaughtering his own pigs. This pork has helped me win a number of prestigious awards, including Bpex awards for pork pies, sausages and dry-cured bacon. I have been Pie Champion in 2002, 2003 and 2004, and North West Sausage champion in 2005. I was also voted the cheeriest butcher in the North West during National Breakfast Week 2006 and I came second in the UK TV Food Hero awards in 2007. Last year, I was a finalist in MTJ's Champion of Champions with my pork, leek and black pudding sausage.
I started helping my father in the shop when I was eight or nine years old, standing on a buffet to reach the mincer this was in the days before health and safety! In many ways, butchery has become easier, with the provision of more boneless beef and chickens already cleaned out. When I started, we still used to white-stone the back room floor and clean the brass weights each week.
In some ways, I would prefer to return to more traditional butchery, with a lot less paperwork. While the early mornings can sometimes be a bit of a drag, on the plus side, I have found that a lot of my customers have now become firm friends.