AN award-winning Keighley market hall butcher has hung-up his apron after more than four decades in the trade.

Roy Dykes has collected countless accolades over the years for his products – including sausages, burgers and dry-cured bacon – and has built-up a loyal following.

In 2014, he was president of the Confederation of Yorkshire Butchers Councils and he has been north-west president for the past six years.

He has also assisted with the annual Great Yorkshire Pie and Sausage competition.

Mr Dykes, who established his market stall in 1996, said it had been “an honour” to serve the people of Keighley and support farmers in the community for so long.

And he pays tribute to Ben Barnes, who has taken over the stall.

“I am proud to leave the business in Ben’s capable hands,” he said.

“Ben came knocking on my door as a very young boy – asking to work with me – and persisted until his opportunity arrived.

“He has proved himself to be a special case, has studied and worked very hard.

“Ben has great customer and product focus and is going to do very well continuing to support the local farms and farmers.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw – Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration, planning and transport – said Roy typified the “excellent” traders in the district’s markets.

“They deliver a great service and fantastic high-quality produce to the local community,” he added.

“I wish Roy all the best for his well-deserved retirement and extend the best of luck to Ben in continuing the business.”

Keighley MP Robbie Moore met Ben, 20, during a visit to the market.

“It is great to see young people like Ben take the leap to set-up and own their own business,” said Mr Moore.

“Before becoming the MP, I set-up my own business and I know just how tough the first few months can be.

“It seems that Ben has taken to it like a duck to water.

“He has a real ‘can-do’ attitude and wants to crack on in life, with little barriers to stop his aspirations becoming a reality.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and I want to support people like Ben so that they can do well and get on in life.

“I hope that more young people follow in Ben’s footsteps and set-up their own businesses across the Keighley and Ilkley constituency.”