Long-standing barber Philip Carter is hanging up his scissors after 50 years in the trade in Littlehampton.
He turned 65 earlier this month and his last day at Philip’s Barbershop, in Surrey Street, will be on Saturday, April 2.
Philip started as a Saturday boy at 14, then left school at 15 for a three-year apprenticeship with Stan Denholm, who ran a highly-respected salon in the town.
“I wasn’t really academic at school and so the thing was to do something practical,” he explained.
“I had twin sisters who were a lot younger than me and I used to mess about with their hair, so it was suggested by my parents and I wasn’t averse to the idea.
“I had my leg pulled a lot as an apprentice but that training has been the basis of my career.
“It is one of those trades where you know very quickly whether you can do it or not. You either take to it like a duck to water or you won’t be able to do it.”
He opened his salon in 1969, at the age of 18. Over the years, Philip has built up a list of long-standing customers and saying goodbye has been a little emotional. But he says it is the right time to go.
“I have seen the whole gamut of styles,” said Philip. “There have been some huge changes over the years but I have been in it so long, that I am now seeing things coming back in with just a tweak.
“Young lads these days are asking for skin fades, which is actually the short back and sides that I did when I first started.”
The shop will be taken over by Jim Jarvis, who trained with Philip from the age of 16 in the late 1970s and has been there ever since. He will be joined by a new barber, Leon, who has just finished his training in London.
Philip said he will take six months to relax and see what he wants to get involved with.
“I have been so committed I want to stop and sit back, enjoy summer, do the garden and have a good holiday.”
He brought up his son, Oliver, now 42, as a single father and has two grandsons.
“It was a juggle to run the business and be a one-parent family,” he admitted.
He met his wife Karen when Oliver was 16 and they celebrate their silver wedding anniversary next year.
Philip will also continue with his other great love – music, having always combined his hairdressing with singing. He retired as a professional opera singer at the age of 60 but he is looking forward to having more time to work on his music.
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