A MASTER saddler based in Shipston-on-Stour has retired after 51 years of plying his trade in the town.
Robert Wilson, of Rimell Saddlers, started at the company 51 years ago when it was based in Newbold-on-Stour.
The 66-year-old took over the business in 1976 and moved the company to West Street in Shipston, going on to become one of the town’s most well-known and respected businessmen.
Robert said: “I’m looking forward to my retirement, I enjoy my fishing and things like that. The problem is my hands are knackered, I’ve got arthritic hands and it’s been hard work over the years stitching and cutting leather.
“I’m happy to have done this for 51 years, it’s the only job I’ve ever had and it’s provided me with a living all these years.”
In April, Robert sold the business to husband and wife team, Sue and William Deakin, and their friends, Alex Ferris and Joe Hibbert, and has been busy passing on his skills to the new owners.
Robert will continue to do some work for the business, whilst the new owners settle in.
He added: “I’m sure they will rise to the challenge. I’ve been teaching the girls to stitch and I know they will do well.
“Both girls know about horses and they both know most of our clients.”
New owner Sue said: “I used to be a customer of the business and I knew they did a great job there doing repairs, I just thought it would be a shame if the business was to leave the area.
“Robert still does quite a lot, I know a lot about horses because I run a livery yard, but not as much about saddlery, so it has been great having him here to help with that side of the business. I think he must be the longest serving trader in Shipston.”