A RAMSBOTTOM butchers has been forced to close its doors for the final time after 90 years.

Topping Butchers, in Bolton Street, has been a permanent fixture in the town since it was set up in 1928, but shut on Wednesday after its owner, Thomas “Tommy” Topping, retired.

The shop was initially set up by Mr Topping’s grandfather and was then passed on to his father.

Tommy, now aged 68, started working in his father’s shop in 1968, before taking the reins himself.

He says he had always hoped to pass the mantle on to his son after he retired, but the current state of the industry meant it was not financially viable to do so.

The introduction of three supermarkets to Ramsbottom town centre in recent years is partly to blame for the closure, he claims.

Mr Topping added: “They have taken 70 per cent of our trade away and local councillors and politicians have done nothing about it.

“I did want to pass it on to my son, who has worked in the shop with me, but I have told him it’s just not worth it.”

The married father-of-three found television fame back in 2011, when he starred in ITV’s There’s No Taste Like Home, presented by celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo.

On the cookery show — which celebrated the UK’s home cooks, and their incredible family heritage dishes — he cooked up steak cow heel pie, a recipe Tommy says goes back several generations in his family.

After news of the shop’s closure broke this week, loyal customers expressed their sadness on Facebook.

Anne Nicholson posted in the What’s on in Ramsbottom group, saying: “Well, I'm genuinely gutted that our local butcher Tommy Topping closes his doors for the final time today after 90 years!

“Thank you for providing the best sausages which have helped ease the worst hangovers & lovely meats for lots of brilliant family meals & celebrations.

“Good luck to the nicest Liverpool FC fans I know, Tommy & Paul.”

According to Mr Topping, a buyer for the shop has already been found, and he wished to express his gratitude to the many people who visited his shop over the years.

He said: “I wish them all the best in the future. I’m thankful for all the support they have given us over the years.

“Customers have been sad because they can’t buy quality anywhere else. We only sold quality produce sourced within 11 miles.

“Having been in this trade for such a long time you get to know the people to deal with. That’s the way I always ran the business."