Proud Q Guild butcher hangs up apron after 53 years

A north east butcher and a servant to the Q Guild has decided to call it a day after a long and successful career in the trade.

George Payne, 65, who lives in Whitby Bay, has run the successful George Payne Butchers shop in Newcastle since 1987, and is a former national and regional chairman of the Q Guild.

He said: “Right from the beginning I’ve tried to get my customers nearer to their producers and to be interested in where their meat has come from. That is what has driven me all these years. But all in all it has been 53 years since I started and I would like a retirement.

“I’m going to retire some time this year, but I don’t want to lose my links with the Q Guild and the industry.”

George entered the industry as a 15-year-old apprentice, working for three years on £3 a week. He then gradually worked his way up through the industry, gaining management experience at a Scotch Corner butcher’s shop in the mining village of Seaton Delavel.

Payne decided it was time to set up his own business in 1987. He told that he found a friendly bank manager and a shop whose owner was in ill health and wanted to sell.

He said: “The business was on its knees, but because I had a good knowledge of the trade and good relationships with farmers and wholesalers, within six months we had joined the Q Guild.”

After 27 years at George Payne Butchers, the 65-year-old says one of the highlights of his career came last year when, after a lifetime of trying to achieve one of the top gongs, his lamb, mint and redcurrant sausages were given a Diamond Smithfield Award.

George said he was proud to have spent his career in butchery: “It’s a marvellous trade and I’ve had an absolute ball. It’s a tremendous skill to learn and I would recommend it to anyone.

“I feel like I’ve never had a job because I’ve enjoyed it so much. I would like to pay tribute to all the people I’ve met over the years in the guild and the trade – they’ve been a real inspiration to me.”

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