Meet Britain’s oldest working butcher – an 88-year-old who runs her own shop and has worked through the pandemic.
Marian Voyce has been alone in her shop which the family started in 1932 since her husband died two decades ago – but still arrives early each morning to open up.
She had a fall and broke her arm last year but was back in the shop the next day cutting meat – some by hand.
Marian has been behind the counter full-time six days a week even since the outbreak of coronavirus, keeping locals fed – when restrictions have allowed.
She admits her cash-only business has slowed during the pandemic, with the opening of a new supermarket nearby also a possible factor.
But the mum-of-one added that still enjoys her work – giving customers a good product and having a chat at the same time.
Marian of Coleford, Glos., said: “In the beginning business was okay. But it’s gradually gone – there’s not many people about now. It’s not good at the moment.
“The holidaymakers that are normally around aren’t here, from Manchester – places like that.
“Town is empty. I think it’s because of the virus. It’s not good wearing a mask all day.
“A lot of older people have stopped coming in and some people don’t have as much money so they aren’t eating as much meat.
“I think if you are going to get something, you are going to get it. It’s no good sitting at home worrying about it. I’d rather be here.
“[The supermarket] has affected all the shops too. It’s something new for people. And I think, generally, people aren’t cooking as much. They have ready meals or fast food.
“I don’t know how some have managed, with staff to pay. I’m fortunate – it’s only me! I’m on my own.”
Marian’s father-in-law, Frederick, started the butcher business as F C Voyce in 1932.
She then met her husband Lionel at the stall in the now-disappeared market hall in the town, helping out as soon as they began courting.
So by the time the pair married in 1959 Marian was already a competent butcher, fitting it in around her day job in an office.
The couple then moved into the shop she occupies today – F C Voyce & Son – in 1968, one of eight butchers in the town.
Lionel sadly passed away in 2000 aged 87, leaving Marion to run the shop on her own.
The couple have one son who has not followed in the family footsteps, instead working as a librarian.
Marian, from Cinderford, said she is currently just taking each day as it comes and doesn’t have a plan, as such.
She said: “You have just got take it as it comes. If I’m alright I will keep going for a little while. People need food.
“I won’t sell up as a butchers. If I do, it will be as another empty property.
“My husband used to say to my son, ‘don’t carry on with this – get a job where you can get a pension and sick pay’. We never had any holidays.
“I wouldn’t want anybody to follow me – I would worry for them!”
Frank Fisher was thought to be the oldest working butcher in Britain until he was forced to give up in Dronfield, Derbs., after a fall in 2018 when he was 88.