He has been a cut above the rest for 73 years, but after starting his career as a barber during the Second World War Dick Callow has finally decided it is time to put his clippers away for good.
Dick (87) started as an apprentice barber when he was just 14, and after more than seven decades in the profession last Saturday proved to be the end of an era for the Deeping St James resident who finally cut his last customer’s hair at J R Callow & Son in Market Deeping.
But Dick has no plans to slow down in his retirement or take off his 5.30am alarm as his wife of 61 years June will be keeping him busy. He quipped: “The wife will say ‘get the Hoover out, you can do some Hoovering!’”
Dick said hair styles had “altered a lot” during his career, but he has never had any problems with customers, adding: “They’ve all been decent people.”
After first working in Boston, Dick took over the barber shop in Market Place, which was formerly known as AE Bowman and Son, on November 1, 1959, and according to his son Howard some of his first customers were still returning nearly 60 years later.
“He has got lots of customers who have come here since the start. There are families where he has cut five generations of hair,” he said.
“And the prices have only gone up three times in that period.”
Howard (53), from Elton, runs the tobacconist and sweet shop at the front of the barbers.
And he is now getting used to life without working next to his dad who he said does not actually want to retire.
Howard added: “He is a very young 87 - pretty sprightly. I would like him to enjoy the years he has left.”
One of Dick’s loyal customers was Nenna Hemsman, whose husband Theo also used to have his hair cut by Dick before he passed away.
Neena said: “My husband and I have known Dick for many years. He is the most obliging, dedicated person I know.
“Theo had been coming on a Tuesday for 20 years.
“Even though he is no longer with me Dick keeps cutting my hair and makes it lovely and tidy.
“You can’t go on forever. I do not know what I’m going to do with Dick gone.
“That gentleman has never put his price up in all these years.”
The barber shop will now continue under new management, but with a glint in his eyes Dick said he might return from time to time to see how his old business is getting on without him.
But for now, Dick’s former customers will be able to toast a happy retirement to him at a farewell party on Saturday evening.
The event is being held at The Stage in Market Place, Market Deeping, from 6pm to 7.30pm, with all former customers invited to attend.