Northumberland butcher hands over mobile business

An Alnwick butcher is easing off the gas and handing over the keys to his travelling butcher’s shop as he prepares for retirement.

John Turnbull, who is 65, has worked at R Turnbull & Sons Butchers in Alnwick since the age of 16 and has been behind the wheel of the company’s travelling shop since he was 17.

The shop has served local communities in Northumberland for decades. However, the keys have been handed over to another Turnbull’s butcher Paul Leighton, who will continue to serve villages in a 20-mile radius of Alnwick.

John said: “I am already missing it. It’s the end of an era. Many of my customers have become firm friends over the years. I have known some of them since they were kids and they now have their own children and grandchildren. I will miss them all too.”

He explained that the travelling shop had also become a lifeline to the elderly and less able, saying it was much more than a butcher’s shop on wheels, being the provider of a vital community service to the local villages.

Yet John will still work in the award-winning Market Street shop, although behind the scenes, as a back-room boy. The shop was established in 1880 by Roger Turnbull, and John said: “I am still taking an active part in the shop, but more behind the scenes.

“Our sixth-generation family butchers remains in good hands, with my son Mark at the helm, now joined by his own son, my grandson Daniel, with the full backing of the loyal and committed Turnbull’s team, many of whom have themselves been with us for many years. I hope everyone will continue to support us.”