Highside Butchers in Kirkby Malzeard on the importance of service

PUBLISHED: 13:56 13 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:29 20 February 2013

Butcher Jim Stothard and his wife Carole at their daughter Joanne’s wedding (he doesn’t wear that outfit in his van)

Butcher Jim Stothard and his wife Carole at their daughter Joanne’s wedding (he doesn’t wear that outfit in his van)

North Yorkshire butcher's daughter Joanne Briggs muses on the importance of service

My dad, Jim Stothard, has clocked up a lot of miles since starting Highside Butchers in Kirkby Malzeard 35 years ago. Every Friday, whatever the weather, he visits the surrounding villages of Galphay, Winksley, Grantley and Sawley delivering provisions to people who are unable to get to his shop or those in nearby Ripon.

His van has been a regular sight on the twisty-turny roads and lanes of this beautiful part of North Yorkshire for more than three decades. First came the white mobile butchers shop, then the dark red one complete with butchers block, cleaver and bacon slicer followed by a rather streamlined purple number, and now back to traditional white again.

Dads delivery van might have changed significantly over the years, but the dependable level of service provided by its driver has remained remarkably consistent.

Several of his original customers remain on his regular weekly run to this day, making good use of dads dedication to rural community service. Mrs Blackburn in Grantley, for instance, is one such customer that springs to mind. She turns 101 this summer and Im sure one of the keys to her longevity are the ripe bananas she requests and my dad dutifully delivers every week.

Highside Butchers is not just about my dad though. He has made sure its become a real family concern over the years, instilling in us a sense of service over all else. My brother, Tim, has worked alongside dad since he was old enough to wrap sausages and is now a partner in the business.

He is the driving force behind the introduction of new lines, putting Thai chicken and Wensleydale wraps next to dads famous handmade steak pies, to keep customers interested.

My mum, Carole, has had an active role behind the scenes from the very beginning, taking care of the laundry and bookkeeping. And even I have served my time behind the counter.

The success of dads business in the current economic climate is testament to his hard work, dedication and reputation as a dependable server of the local rural community. He doesnt just sell meat; he provides a level of service for his friends, neighbours and customers that is, unfortunately, becoming something of a rarity.

Despite his forthcoming landmark birthday dont worry, dad, I wont tell anyone youre 70 there is no sign of him retiring or taking things a bit easier. His van will continue to trundle around North Yorkshire every Friday
for years to come, full of his finest produce and a special bunch of extra-ripe bananas.

The print version of this article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life

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