AFTER 54 years of chopping, dicing and carving, popular butcher Terry McEvoy is hanging up his cleaver.
The 69-year-old grandfather has become a household name in Normanton with his High Street shop and has represented butchers from across Wakefield and West Yorkshire on trade guilds and councils.
He began his career by chance as an eager 15-year-old and can recall watching cattle being driven through the city centre on the way to the abattoir opposite St Austin’s Catholic School, where he studied.
The friendly Yorkshireman has continued to serve customers with a smile, running his own business for 40 years, and was nicknamed Mr Normanton for his work on the town chamber of trade, supporting schools and charities and running street parties.
He is also fondly remembered as one of the founding members of rock and roll legends Jack O’ Diamonds, which starred on the Carroll Levis Discovery Show in 1960.
But after half a century of 5am starts, six-day weeks and standing on his feet all day, he has decided to retire.
Mr McEvoy, of Lofthouse, said: “I don’t regret one minute of it. When the alarm goes off I am up straight away and I have always looked forward to going to work.
“I will miss the interaction with the customers and meeting people all day.
“I am very proud of working my way up in the business and want to thank everyone for their support over the years.”
The father-of-two added that his biggest achievement in his life was marrying wife of 46 years Sylvia, who regularly helped in the shop.
He said his highlights had included providing meat for the Queen Mum’s visit to Nostell and the opening of the Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
He also met Princess Royal while a member of the York Guild of Butchers, which he later became president, and organised the annual Great Yorkshire Pork Pie Competition.
He was also president of Wakefield Butchers Association and West Yorkshire Council of Butchers and Confederation of Yorkshire Butchers Councils, which raised thousands of pounds for charity.
Mr McEvoy started his career by chance after being offered a trainee position at Stageman’s, on Brook Street, Wakefield, after only going in the shop with his friend who wanted a job.
He worked for Eric Richmond at Richmonds Butchers, on Barnsley Road, before taking on the Black and White Pork Shop on Westmorland Street in 1971 with fellow butcher Tony Lumb.
McEvoy and Lumb grew in reputation and they soon opened shops in Chickenley and eventually on High Street, Normanton in 1974, replacing Charles Kappes Pork Butchers, which was founded in 1870.
When Mr Lumb retired in 1989, the other premises were sold and McEvoy’s Butchers became a household name in Normanton.
He said he had fond memories of a massive bullock called the Plymouth Giant, which was on display at the end of a passageway next to Stageman’s. Visitors would donate money in a box and with the cash Simion Stageman would buy shoes for customers’ children, it was known locally as Boots for Bairns.
Mr McEvoy was also one of those who re-launched Normanton Chamber of Trade in the 1980s after it had been defunct for a number of years.
The group has been successful in introducing Christmas lights to the town and improving car parking facilities.
Away from the shop floor, he even had his brush with fame as bassist for Wakefield rock and roll band Jack O’ Diamonds.
The group appeared on Carroll Levis Discovery Show and toured pubs and clubs around the area in the 1950s and 1960s - reforming for a one-off gig in 2005.
Singer Patti Brooke went on to tour with the Beatles, Cliff Richard and Billy Fury.
But thankfully for Normanton residents Mr McEvoy decided to pack in his music career to focus on butchering.
His High Street shop is now up for sale and today will be his last day.
He added: “I never intended being a butcher, but once I started I loved it and have never looked back.”