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Butcher makes mincemeat of recession

KIDLINGTON butcher David Woodward is up at about 3.30am every day and not home until six.

Not many other people could match his weekly working hours, but the 42-year-old butcher says that is why his empire is expanding when many other small businesses are going to the wall.

He is a master craftsman, with a wealth of industry awards.

His pork and leek, Lincolnshire, Cumberland and sage, Oxfordshire and mature cheese and pork sausages have all won silver awards.

And three of his sausages – pork and chive, honey roast pork and plain pork – have scooped gold.

In 2007 his business also won the Oxford College Awards special supplier of the year award and he has recently been accepted into the prestigious Q Guild of Butchers.

He says he knew what he wanted to do after watching his butcher brother Paul expertly cut meat.

In 1985 he won trainee of the year. And after completing a course at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College he went on to manage a butcher’s shop and a catering business – where he realised he wanted to do things differently.

Paul said: “I didn’t like the idea of importing meat and not really knowing where it had come from or how the animals had been farmed.

“I knew I wanted to run a traditional butchers with meat from the local area. But starting your own business was a pretty big risk.”

The push came following the death of his other, older brother Michael, aged just 38.

“Michael died of a brain haemorrhage in April 2005. The following October, I opened my own shop, Woodlands Quality Butchers in Bicester Road, Kidlington.

“It was a gamble, but I was so driven to succeed by Michael’s death.

“In those early days I just put my head down and pushed hard.”

The divorced, father-of-two has seen his business grow. All his pork is from Woods Farm in Watlington and his beef from Corner Farms in Kirtlington.

“I always knew that when I started my butcher’s shop I would make my own sausages and that they would become a passion,” he said.

“But I never dreamed how popular they would become.”

In his first months in business he was selling 60 to 70lbs of sausages a week. Now it’s 2,000lbs a week.

He added: “We make all our sausages by hand – mixing, binding and then making them. The only machine we use is a mincer. And we use natural sheep and hog intestines for their skins.

“What started as an hour-long job, now takes a day and half each week.

Full story from Bicester Advertiser

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