A DARWEN Market butcher is retiring after more than 50 years working on and then running his family stalls.

Tom Turner hangs up his apron and knives after five decades serving the town's carnivorous customers on Saturday.

He was only a boy when he first started.

Working on the market runs in his blood with three generations of his family having had stalls on Darwen, Blackburn and Chorley markets.

On Saturday Tom will be the last of the Turners when he retires along with wife Andrea.

But the Turner name will continue on Darwen Market with staff Lizzie Sutton and Debbie Cooper taking on his two stalls.

Tom will still be busy on his farm at Tockholes, supplying Lizzie with his lamb and beef.

He said: "It’s definitely the right time to go.

"I hadn’t really had thoughts of ever packing up and everyone is shocked, but when I told someone recently, they said: ‘Tom, you’ve done your shift and someone else’s as well.’

"With all the 4am starts, it certainly feels like that!

"I could bone a body of beef at the age of 12!

"I felt like I'd won the lottery when I inherited the Turner’s butchers stall from my Dad and the farm from my Uncle.

"I’ve always absolutely loved my job."

Lizzie started working for Tom 16 years ago and will take on the fresh meat stall with her husband Jordan.

She said: "We’re all sad to see Tom go.

"Turner’s has long been part of Darwen Market and I’ve loved working with Tom learning the trade.

"I helped him out for one Saturday years ago and have never left."

Debbie is taking on the cooked meats and cheese stall.

She said: "I’m nervously excited.

"It’s time for him to leave it to us and enjoy life."

Martin Eden, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s strategic director for environment and operations, said: "I'd like to wish Tom and Andrea a very long and happy retirement.

"Tom has dedicated more than 50 years to Darwen Market and is fondly known by the whole community.

"Turner’s has long been part of the fabric of Darwen Market and we’re so pleased that Lizzie and Debbie will be keeping the businesses going."