A KNUTSFORD fishmonger has been crowned Booths’ oldest member of staff – but the strapping 88-year-old is not ready to hang up his hat and apron just yet.

Arthur Hawker joined the Booths team when the store opened its doors in 1990, aged 64.

Although retirement was just over the horizon, the grandfather-of-three had no intentions of following suit of his counterparts.

More than two decades and a stroke later, he is fighting fit, dancing in the aisles and happily serving his Knutsford customers.

Arthur said: “People may say, ‘what is he doing working at 88, alongside blokes in their 20s, 30s and 40s’, but we are a great team and we all gel together.

“Booths is a happy home, it’s a family business and the family, when they come in, always remember your name; it’s really great. It’s up to the company if they want me to continue, but as far as I am concerned, I don’t want to retire, why should I?”

Arthur makes the 22-mile round trip from his home in Barnton to Booths four days a week, driving himself there and back.

He has extensive knowledge of his wares having 56 years experience – he began his career in the fish sales industry in 1958.

Although Arthur has worked happily at the store for 24 years, he suffered a set-back five years ago.

“I was serving customers at the counter and started to feel myself going – I was having a stroke,” he said.

Now back to full health, Arthur is often seen having a jig in the store. For this year’s Children in Need, he took two days holiday and spent 16 and a half hours dancing to raise funds for the charity.

“I have a deep regard for children and their care,” he said. “It’s just a few hours a year and I try to do my bit.”

Arthur is not alone in being an older person on the Booths payroll – 12 per cent of Booths employees are over 60.

Chairman of Booths, Edwin Booth, said: “Booths has always encouraged older workers and we do not enforce a standard retirement age. We think experience adds a great deal to our business and we recognise appropriate training and education enhances our workforce.”