A BUTCHER who has been at the heart of Haddington for more than half a century has hung up his apron for the last time.

Colin Peat has served customers from the business on the town’s Court Street since he was just a teenager.

On May 30, he shut up shop for the last time but not before a huge number of people visited Colin D Peat to wish him well in his retirement.

He said: “They were really pleased that I have given all the years of service but, having been here for so many years, I have worked my time and I deserve a bit of retirement.

“I have never had anything like this before: the response to it has been unbelievable.

“Through social media there are hundreds – I’m not sure how many but I know it is over 400 – of messages where they have given their wishes and comments.

“In terms of gifts and the ‘thank yous’ I have received over the last week, it has been absolutely overwhelming.

“They have actually been queuing out on the pavement just to say their goodbyes to me on Friday and Saturday.”

The 66-year-old decided at the beginning of the year that he would bid farewell to the shop where he has worked since 1969, alongside his dad, also called Colin.

Starting out at just 15 years of age, Colin took over the running of the shop after his dad passed away in July 1986.

He said: “I have always been one of those people that got up every morning and looked forward to coming to my work.

“I have done that all my life and it does not matter whether somebody coming in is spending £1 or £100, I have always given them the same service.”

Among his customers was the late Clarissa Dickson Wright, who was famous as one half of the BBC TV show Two Fat Ladies, alongside Jennifer Paterson.

Clarissa, who died in 2014, walked into the shop one day looking for him to supply the meat for her restaurant at Lennoxlove House, on the outskirts of the town.

Colin, who was also a retained firefighter at Haddington’s fire station for more than 25 years, said: “She wanted to introduce herself and bring in her head chef the next day to supply all the food for her new restaurant, followed by supplying all the food for 6,000 people at a James Taylor concert at Lennoxlove Estate shortly afterwards.

“It continued on as business and a friendship.”

The father-of-two was looking forward to spending more time with his children, Kevin, who lives at Gairloch, and Karin, who lives in Ipswich, as well as the garden at his Haddington home.

Kevin Watt, of Kevin Watt Butchers, worked with Mr Peat for 13 years before setting up his own business on the town’s High Street six years ago.

He thanked Mr Peat for passing on so much knowledge and said: “Congratulations on your retirement.

“Thanks for giving me the years of experience in the butchering trade and the opportunity.”

Councillor Tom Trotter, who represents the Haddington and Lammermuir ward, also wished Mr Peat well in his retirement.

He said: “I wish him all the best. He has been a good servant to the community for a number of years.

“He has been there for as long as I can remember and fair play to him.

“I hope he has a long, successful and happy retirement.”