Final cut as Brendan gives work the chop

Brendan Grant cuts his last steak and hangs up his apron after 42 years as a butcher with Gallaghers in William Street. Also in photo are colleagues, from left, Eugene McLaughlin, Gareth McLaughlin, John McGilloway and Dessie Begley, manager. 2802JM20
Brendan Grant cuts his last steak and hangs up his apron after 42 years as a butcher with Gallaghers in William Street. Also in photo are colleagues, from left, Eugene McLaughlin, Gareth McLaughlin, John McGilloway and Dessie Begley, manager. 2802JM20
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Well known Derry butcher Brendan Grant has given work the chop, retiring after 42 years of bringing home the bacon.

At the age of 57, the Gallagher’s Butchers employee said he decided to make his final cut from the William Street business after “many happy years”.

He said the job had given him the opportunity to ‘meat’ many interesting people and new friends during his long career with Gallagher’s Butchers, which started out at the family business’s former premises on Sackville Street in 1970.

Brendan started out all those years ago riding the Gallagher’s “messages bike” and recalls one or two funny encounters from his early, “good old days”, with the firm.

“I remember going to the slaughter house in Little Diamond one day when I saw a bull coming straight for me. I had to throw the bike to the one side and make a beeline out of the way. The bull had broken out of the slaughter house and was raging - the man in the slaughter house must have missed him with the gun. I was only 16 years old and it was scary at the time but I laughed that day.”

Brendan had a number of mishaps during his early career that he remembers with great fondness.

“I remember bringing in sides of beef one day to the Sackville Street shop - they were heavy and as I was carrying one inside a shin caught on the window and down I went with the whole thing falling on top of me.

“It was sore at the time but the others all had a good laugh and I look back on it now and laugh, it must have been some sight.”

Then there was the time the message bike got “stuck in a grating” and the memorable day Brendan and a colleague struggled with two turkeys in Austins department store. “We had to take two 25lb turkeys from Sackville Street to the catering floor at Austins in the Diamond. As we reached the first floor we were knackered carrying the turkeys and my arms took weak.

“The other boy’s arms took weak at the very same time and down went the turkeys, they rolled down the stairs.

“The girls in the shop had a great laugh at the whole thing, it was good craic that day, we laughed our heads off.”

Brendan, is now looking forward to his retirement and admits he “might take a couple of holidays”.

He said that he’ll miss the craic but admits he’s “no spring chicken” and has to retire at some stage. But the door will always be open to Brendan at Gallaghers. “They said to me if I feel like coming back in to help out the doors will be open.

“They’re a great bunch of fellas, we’re like a wee family in there. There is always great craic with the boys and the customers too always like to have a laugh.”

Gallagher’s proprietor Jack Doherty presented Brendan with a piece of crystal to mark his retirement recently.