AN award-winning Bury butchers, which has been trading for 99 years, has closed its doors for the final time.

Founded in 1918, Bennett’s Quality Meats opened its first shop in Bury on the Rock two years later before moving to its premises in Princess Parade around 40 years ago.

However, the third-generation family business was forced to close both its town centre store and its preparation depot in Bury New Road, Whitefield, on Saturday, September 23, due to an inability to cover running costs.

Jeremy Bennett, who took over the running of the business with brothers Martyn and Tim in 2004, said: “It is sad after 99 years.

“We just cannot afford the rent, and the town is not as busy as it used to be. Since they built the Rock it has spilt the town in two. A lot of small businesses are dying.

“To be honest, it’s been going downhill for us for a while now. People want quantity over quality now. We were at the top end quality-wise but then you get the supermarkets and indoor market which is quantity over quality and it’s hard for us to compete.”

Mr Bennett says that since their closure, they have been inundated with messages from customers wishing them well in the future.

He said: “There are a lot of upset people in Bury. Generations have grown up with us so we have had a lot of messages from people wishing us all the best.”

"We are just taking stock now. We don’t know what we are going to do at the moment because we came into it straight from school. It’s all we’ve ever known so this has come as quite a shock to us."