Spixworth butcher to retire after almost 40 years

He has been providing families in a village on the outskirts of Norwich with perfect, precision-cut meat for almost 40 years.

But ill-health has forced traditional butcher Clive Browne to cut short his career and take the difficult decision to shut his shop in Spixworth at the end of this month.

Mr Browne, 62, suffered a heart attack in September last year and that together with a raft of other health problems has prompted him to make the decision to close the shop, on Crostwick Lane, with a 'heavy heart' on March 26.

The father-of-two and grandfather-of-two said: 'The reason I'm retiring is not because of money or financial reasons – the business is thriving – but primarily because of ill health.

'In the past two years I've had a heart attack, a burst ulcer, a stone in the bladder and a gland removed from my neck. My father was a butcher here before me. He died at 57 and I think it's one of the reasons I'm going. I've got two grandchildren, nine and three, and want to spend more time with them – at 62 you've got more time behind you than you have in front of you.'

Mr Browne, who lives at Arthurton Road, off Buxton Road, said it would be a very sad day when he closed his shop for the last time this month.

He said: 'This is the end of an era for me – it's been my life. I will be very sad – I will be going with a heavy heart. All of my old customers will be in here on the last day and I don't mind admitting I will shed a few tears.

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'The sad thing for me is that although I've got two sons they've got their own businesses and so they are not going to continue it.'

It was 38 years ago that Mr Browne and his father Frederick first started working at the shop which had previously been owned by Trevor Jones of Stanninghall Farms.

The former Sprowston High School pupil started his first job at a butcher's at Catton Chase, near Fifer's Lane, aged just 14, before moving on to work at a butcher's in Horsford and then finally the shop in Spixworth.

He said that while the times have changed over the years with supermarkets becoming more and more prominent, he has actually changed little over the years.

Mr Browne said: 'Supermarkets have not made any difference to me because I'm an old fashioned butcher. I've got the corner of the market supermarkets cannot do. I know all my customers, I know them all by name and they know me. I know their interests and they can come in here on a Saturday morning and talk about what the score's going to be at Carrow Road in the afternoon. You don't get that in a supermarket.'

A 59-year-old customer, who did not want to be named, said: 'It will be a sad loss for the village. It's a great pity because there are a lot of people who come up here, a lot of elderly people, and they might just buy two sausages, but it gets them out.'

Are you retiring after working in the same job for many years? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk.