IT is the end of an era as a familiar face and friend to many in Kelty retires this weekend.

This Saturday, July 1, will be the last day for Jim Halkett as he closes his shop in Blackhall Square for the last time, after serving the community as local butcher for over 38 years.

Jim, known passionately to many as ‘Jim the Butcher’, says he has loved every minute and is grateful to the people of Kelty for supporting his business over all those years.

He started off his butchery career with Munro the Butchers, in Cowdenbeath, and then bought the shop in Kelty in 1995, and worked long hours to build a very successful business.

Speaking to the Times, Jim said: “I do feel sad but I have to say, I have loved every minute of my time in Kelty and over that time I have met not just many customers, but have made many very special friends.”

Just how much he will be missed was evident when the shop social media Facebook page announced a few weeks ago Jim’s intention to retire and more than 400 people posted saying how much he will be missed and thanking him for all the years of service.

Well wishes have also been extended to Joan Ramsay, who has been on the front counter for 22 years, and Jim’s daughter, Sharon Halkett, who worked alongside Joan for 11 years.

Kelty-based Labour MSP, Alex Rowley, said that it really was the end of an era in the village: “Jim will be a big miss as will the friendly banter from Joan and Sharon, and I want to wish them the very best for the future.

“'Jim the Butchers’ has always been a great shop for local people and for many who travelled to the village to get the best of butcher meat.

“Jim has been a great friend to many, and never saw people stuck and I want to thank him and the team for the brilliant service they have given the community of Kelty."

Jim Halkett has been a strong supporter of Kelty Hearts over the years, through advertising at the ground and supplying a steak pie every week to the club for charitable causes.

And the Hearts joined the well wishes being extended to him.

Club treasurer, George McTrusty, said: “The football club would want to wish Jim the very best for his retirement and thank him for many years of support to the club and local charities."

The shop’s Facebook page was deluged with goodwill messages for Jim.

Lisa Graham said: “You weren’t just one of the best butchers in Fife, but also the best company. You always made me feel so welcome, like being part of your family.”

Anne McKenzie said: “I'm absolutely gutted. Jim's an institution and I wish Jim a long and happy retirement - but at the same time, I'm gutted!”

Helen Morgan observed: “Good luck Jim, you are one in a million!”

“You are going to be missed. It's the end of an era," commented Maria Lovelock.