GENERATIONS of customers of a Leeds village’s barber who opened for business 50 years ago gathered to celebrate the anniversary.
Bernard Saunders opened barber’s shop Bernard’s Hairdressing in Swillington on August 21, 1967, when he was 19-years-old.
He had spent two years before that cycling around the village to cut customers’ hair in their own homes.
Now aged 69, Mr Saunders continues to work full time despite suffering a heart attack last October and undergoing bypass surgery in February.
And the dedicated snipper says he has no intention of retiring for a good few years yet.
Emma Mack, 30, of Rothwell, who has worked as a barber at the shop since 2015, arranged for customers past and present to visit the shop for a surprise celebration yesterday (Monday).
And the YEP was there to capture the milestone moment.
Miss Mack said: “He is an absolutely diamond and a real gent. They call him the local legend in Swillington because he has cut the hair of so many people from different generations.”
Mr Saunders said he had been “overwhelmed” by the surprise party.
He explained that when he started cutting hair, he would charge just three shillings or 15 pence for a cut.
“I was already cutting hair house to house and they offered me this little space under the stage at Swillington Miners Welfare Club.
“I thought I’ll give it a go for a couple for years, but never stopped.
“I love it. It’s just the people.
“Over the years, I have watched children grow up, I might have cut their parents’ and grandparents’ and even great grandparents’ hair.
“I love the job even more now than I did then.
“You get to know so many people.
“The styles do a full circle, but there’s not a lot else that has changed.”
And reflecting on the automation of many other trades, he joked: “No machine asks you where you are going for your holidays!”
Mr Saunders and wife Carol have two children and five grandchildren, and although none of the brood have expressed an interest in following him into the trade, it has been a vital part of the family’s life.
“It’s been a good living,” Mr Saunders said.
“It’s helped me to bring up a family and it has been enjoyable.
“I wish I could start over again.”