'Heart' of Birkenshaw returns

'Heart' of Birkenshaw returns

BILLY Pearce was the special guest at the re-launch of a butchers described as ‘the heart of Birkenshaw’ on Monday.

The comedian, who lives in Tingley, cut the tape at P&I Hopkins Butchers to mark its return to trading. 

And owner Paul Stone (pictured alongside Pearce) has announced the business will now be offering a plant-based meat substitute as part of the new venture. 

Brothers Ian and Paul Hopkins ran the butchery business on Bradford Road for 32 years before deciding to hang up their cleavers in the lead-up to Christmas. 

But Mr Stone, a property developer and singer who grew up in Birkenshaw, said he couldn’t bear to see the pair go out of business and reached a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to buy the shop.  

“If we’d have lost this butchers we would have lost a huge part of the village, it’s important to me to keep the high street as it was,” he added. 

Ian, 54, will continue to work with the company, whilst 62-year-old Paul has agreed to do the odd shift. 

Jordan Fretwell, 21, who has just completed five years at butchery college, is a new addition to the team. 

As well as the return of the famous pork pie and locally-sourced meats, customers will also have the option of a plant-based meat alternative. 

Speaking on the decision to introduce the item Mr Stone said: “I want to bring new ideas to a traditional butchers. The sustainable meat angle is incredibly important.

“I am aware that someone who is vegan would not necessarily want to come into a butchers, but a lot of people are now looking to plant-based foods for health reasons.” 

After sampling the pork pie Mr Pearce, who has worked with Mr Stone during his parallel career as a musical performer, wished his friend well. 

“I wish them all the very best,” he said. “It’s nice to see a shop like this on the high street. 

“We need to support these family-run businesses because they form part of the community.”

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