50 not out for West Country butcher

A butcher in Wiltshire has toasted half a century in the industry with his customers and become the oldest business on the town's high street.

Harold James of James Butchers, Cricklade, has worked in the store since 1958 and knows a thing or two about keeping a business going for so long: "Hard work, keep to it, but there have been ups and downs over the years."

After leaving school, James worked for his brother in Swindon, but eventually worked in the butcher's he still finds himself in today. He said the hardest time for him was during the BSE crisis.

James celebrated with customers by serving champagne and sherry in his store and gave away special bags to mark the occasion. But it is his methods which James reckons keeps the customers from the nearby villages coming back year after year. "We cut carcases...we do it the traditional way," he said.

In recognition of his service to the town, James received a framed certificate from local government and ceremonial body the Cricklade Court Leet.