Published: 12:30, 16 February 2020
| Updated: 12:31, 16 February 2020
You might want to have a butchers the next time you visit Sheerness High Street. Because the town's favourite meat man is back.
Stan Ward sold his Kent Fresh Foods business last year and was looking forward to retirement. But he is back behind the counter after his replacement suddenly shut up shop.
Customers turned up on Wednesday, January 15, to find the shutters down and a Forfeiture of Lease notice pasted to the door.
A few days later, Stan, 62, received a call from the landlord asking him to return.
Stan, a great grandfather from Minster, admitted: "I had been looking forward to taking things easy and having a bit of rest. But it is good to be back.
"Customers have been popping in to say 'hello' and some have given me cards.
"One has even drawn a picture of me which I've stuck on the wall."
Stan is one of the Island's longest-serving butchers having taken up the trade at 15 after leaving school. He said: "My mum told me I couldn't leave until I had a job."
He began at Carey's in Minster High Street under the watchful eye of Mike O'Meara.
Stan recalled: "I was on an errand for my mum and Mike asked out of the blue if I'd like to help him. I hadn't thought about becoming a butcher but I really love it. I love meeting customers."
After a stint in Hampshire he returned to Sheppey to work in Matthews in the town centre shop he is still in. Over the years it became a Dewhurst and then a branch of JC Rook until Stan took it over eight years ago.
He sold it last year to CJ Meats run by Christopher James but still helped two days a week at the start. But the project collapsed this year.
Christopher James is on a family holiday in Thailand but has promised to return with a new venture and different locations on March 1.
Stan said: "I don't know what happened. But I'm glad to say trade is already beginning to come back."