A PROUD village butcher has celebrated a century of his family serving the community.
The Stonehouse family have been serving up meats to the people of Greatham and the wider area for 100 years.
Peter Stonehouse, 61, the third generation of the family involved with the firm, celebrated the milestone by decorating his shop and running an art competition with Greatham Primary School.
His grandfather William Mitten Stonehouse opened the family’s first butcher’s shop at number one High Street in the village in 1911.
In the mid 20s, it moved across the road to Front Street, where it has remained ever since.
The business was handed down to Peter’s father William Saxby Stonehouse in the 1950s who ran it for many years together with his wife Wyn and their five children.
Peter, 61, joined the family business straight from leaving school at 16.
He took over the business in 1993.
Peter said: “I used to deliver orders before I went to school when I was about 12.
“Some Saturdays I couldn’t play football with my friends because my dad needed me in the shop.”
Peter spoke of his pride at his family notching up 100 years in the business while many other small businesses have disappeared.
He said: “It’s brilliant. I’m very proud that we are still here after 100 years.”
Peter, married to Jan, admitted it has been a struggle to survive but told how he had adapted to keep his customers happy.
He said: “There are not many village butchers left. As the supermarkets became more popular we had to diversify in other things.
“We are now also a general dealers and our deliveries have been the life blood of the business.
“But people do appreciate it, and we must be doing something right to still be here.
Peter’s son Simon, 42, runs a successful restaurant in Oxfordshire, but Peter has no plans to retire and hand over the business just yet.
He said: “I will certainly keep going as long as I can.”