ASHTON-on-Mersey butcher Don Riley is set to hang up his apron for the last time.

Don, who retires on May 13, said: “I joined the butchery game in 1964 when I was 15.

I started at Tesco in Northenden Road and ended up in charge of the Hereford Street meat department.”

In 1982, Don bought the Ashton-on-Mersey business, getting up at 5 am every day to set out the cabinet and window display.

He made up orders before opening at 8.30am.

Don had only been there for a year when he spotted a man walking up and down with a poodle. “He waited until the shop was empty and then came in. He said ‘Will you do me a favour? “I’m emigrating to America and need to weigh my dog. Would you mind if I used your scales?’”

Don declined the request. “I don’t think health and safety would have been very pleased!”

His business did well during the horse meat scandal. “People lost faith in supermarkets. Small butchers, like me, can trace our food back to source.” He continued: “I have enjoyed meeting people.This is a village and you get to know your regulars.

“I’d like to thank all the customers who have supported me.” Don plans to see more of his three grandsons when he retires. He is handing the keys to Stephen Duckworth, 47, and his son, Martin, 22 who, after refurbishment, will reopen on May 28.

“I am looking forward to continuing to provide quality produce and excellent service,” said Stephen.