Tributes to ‘kind’ butcher who helped his customers

Barbara and Jim Walker, who ran Walkers the Butchers in Towngate, Leyland
Barbara and Jim Walker, who ran Walkers the Butchers in Towngate, Leyland
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A Leyland butcher who was ‘very well respected’ in the community has died at the age of 82.

Jim Walker ran Walker’s the Butchers in Towngate for decades, and was the kind of person who looked out for his customers.

His loving wife Barbara has paid tribute to her husband, saying: “He was very kind to customers. If someone was struggling, he’d help them out.

“He was a people-person and loved to meet people and have a chat. “Everyone knew Jimmy Walker.”

The devoted grandad was born in Herbert Street, and started his first job at Shorrock’s Butchers in Towngate.

Barbara said: “His dad said to him one day, ‘there’s a job up the road, go and get it’, as they did back then.

“He used to deliver meat on his push-bike to Gerry’s on Runshaw Lane which is the Plough Inn now, and he always said he wanted to live round there one day.

“And we did end up there. We had a wonderful life together.”

After Jim did two years’ National Service with the Loyal Regiment in Carlisle, he found work at Clarkson’s Butchers in Leyland, which is when he met Barbara.

She was working in the council offices nearby, and soon after, the couple decided to open up their own shop.

“We found an old shop near the Leyland Cross,” Barbara said. “It needed an awful lot of renovating, and from there we got married and rented a cottage next door-but-one to the butcher’s.

“A company called Metroland knocked all the shops down in the 1960s, so we knew we had to find another shop before they did that.

“One came up for sale further down Towngate, more towards the town centre, so we were running two shops for a while.
“He worked in one and my sister and I looked after the other. Jim was in the new shop until he retired in 1993.”

She added: “He was very well known. We would still see old customers in Leyland and they would say ‘hey Jimmy, we can’t find any good meat - where do you go?’ He was very well respected.”

Jimmy, who leaves behind sons Mark and Andrew and daughter Anne, ‘never had time’ for a hobby or many holidays when he was busy working as a butcher, but he ‘made up for lost time’ after he retired.

“He did a little bit of woodwork and tinkered a bit to pass the time,” his wife said. “He used to work seven days a week when he ran the butcher’s, so we never had many holidays. We went to the Lake District or Scotland for a few days, but after he retired, we went all over the world.

“Our daughter emigrated to New Zealand so we’ve been there, and we’ve visited Hong Kong, America and Canada.

“When he was little, Jimmy only ever got as far as White Coppice because that’s where his Auntie lived, and he always said never in his wildest dreams did he think he would be able to visit all of these
places.”

A funeral will take place for Jim at Leyland Parish Church at 2pm on Friday, November 28.