A BARBER who has worked in the heart of Chard for more than five decades has finally decided to call it time in the town.

Kenny Bicknell is now 72, and has lived in Chard his whole life.

After 51 years behind the chair, he has now decided the time is right to retire, with the business set to continue under new ownership.

Kenny left school when he was 15 and went to work as an apprentice at a hairdressers in Fore Street, staying there for three years.

He briefly left the industry, doing a bread round for two years before picking up his scissors again.

When he returned to hairdressing, Kenny went into partnership with the owner of the shop where he completed his apprenticeship, Jimmy Evans.

But after just four months, Jimmy decided to move on to pastures new, and Kenny took 100 per cent ownership of the business.

“When I started out we used to work at the back of Harriman’s Menswear, so people would go through the shop to get to us.

“We were out the back there for 31 years before I bought the shop in Holyrood Street, where have now been for the last 20 years.”

His time behind the chair has not been without its challenges though.

In 1968, the Harriman’s store burnt down, and the two businesses were forced to rise back up from the ashes.

After Kenny’s barbers business was resurrected, it has seen continuous growth until the owner retired last week.

He added: “I have had a good 51 years. I have still got some people that have been here for the whole 51 years.”

Kenny’s final day of trading was Saturday, and he handed over the keys to the new owner Allan Wilson on Monday.

As the sun set on Saturday and his last client, long-time regular Andy Riste, sat in the chair, Kenny received an unexpected visit from friends and family.

The group enjoyed a drink together and Kenny gave a speech thanking his loyal customers.

“It was totally a surprise to me. I didn’t know anything about it,” he said.

“Thank you to everybody for being so loyal for so many years. I am going to miss it for a while. I have had quite a lot of different people in the chair for a chat.”

After five decades working at the heart of Chard, Kenny said he has picked up a nickname among some of his clients - The Legend.

Talking about the decision to finally hand over the business, Kenny said: “Allan just came for a haircut one day after moving down to Tatworth, and asked if I was interested in selling the business.

“He has already run a hairdressers before, and so I thought about it for a couple of months, and decided that I would be silly to pass it up.”

After 51 years in the town, Kenny has seen clients come in as toddlers and grow up to be adults, before then serving their children.

Kenny added: “It has been a long time, but it has been a good time.”