AN award-winning Burnley butcher is set to close his shop after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Stephen Berkins, 51, has been working at the family business for 35 years and has been in charge at Berkins Butchers, in Rosegrove Lane, for the last 16 years.

Over the past few years he has scooped several top prizes including five gold medals for his pork sausages at the North West Awards for Excellence in Meat Products.

But the dad-of-two will close the doors of the business, first opened by his grandad in 1944, for the last time next Saturday, to spend more time with his family.

He said: “It will be a really emotional day. I’ve been getting upset this week when customers have been coming in. They start crying and that sets me off. I’ve no idea what I will be like on the day.

“This has been my entire life really. It’s a family business. It's all I’ve done since I was 16. When it is your own business you can’t switch off from it.”

Stephen, who lives in Worsthorne with his partner Helen, has been forced to retire after the cancer spread to his brain.

He said: “In September last year I went to the doctors with a mole on my back, he sent me to hospital to have it removed but at that stage I was only three per cent worried.

“But they told me it was cancer after having it removed. It spread to my liver and my lungs, and then last month my brain, which is an instant driving ban.

“Being unable to drive is a problem, and I decided to retire then. I want to spend more time with my family.

“I will be going on a cruise around Norway, Sweden and Estonia with Helen. We were going to go to the Caribbean but I can’t be out in the sun very long now.”

Stephen, who has an 18-year-old son, Patrick, and 23-year-old daughter, Georgina, is continuing to receive treatment.

He said: “I tried a trial drug at The Christie but it didn’t help me. I’m on a new drug now which should help me for another six to eight months maybe.

“You kid yourself that you are going to get better, but when it spreads to your brain you know that isn’t going to happen.”