Mr. Michael Ward Master 2018–2019
At about 11 years of age Michael started “helping’’ on a local farm. The owner was a Meat wholesaler in Bradford Abattoir and owned about 6 retail butchers’ shops.
On leaving Grammar School in Bradford with 5 “O” levels and uncertainty
between entering agriculture or butchery he took a job with a Butchers’ sundries supplier in Bradford abattoir. After 6 months he was approached by Jack Gillam a Past Master of the York Butchers Gild who owned the farm and the butchers to work on the farm and in the shops. Michael found these years invaluable comprehensive experience from farm through to shop. Meeting his future wife Christine at a dance was a happy and a fortunate meeting, as she was a Pork Butcher’s daughter which later in 1969 gave him a chance to “go on his own” as a friend of his future father-in-law died leaving a beef and lamb butchers’ shop available in Keighley.
The Pork business was established in 1920 by his father in laws uncle Johnnie Stables a well-respected name in the Keighley district famous for pies and all pork products, Billy along with his wife Chrissie bought the business in the 1950s.
When Michael became involved in the business he included all other quality meats eg, Beef, Lamb, Poultry and Game encouraging a new customer base. He ran the retail side of the business whilst his wife Christine along with her father and staff looked after the wholesale pie and bakery business on the outskirts of the town supplying many shops with Pies and Home Dry Cured Bacon.
The business was sold in 2013 after being in the shop for 44 years it was time to give some time towards the family and retire but still keep involved in the Meat trade. The wholesale pie business has expanded, and remains trading under the name of Stables Pies but has moved into larger premises in Clitheroe Lancashire.
Michael and Christine have two daughters Elizabeth and Rebecca also five grandchildren. They all live in close vicinity around Haworth and the Bronte Country.
For 35 years Michael has managed to find time for the local Rotary Club, a Past President and a recipient of Rotary International’s PHF International award for work in the local Community. Michael was a Governor of the Thomas Danby College for six years, a Past President of the Keighley Butchers’ Association and the North West Riding Council of Butchers’ and the Confederation of Yorkshire Butchers’ the latter of which he is currently Secretary/Treasurer.
Michael was the last Chairman of the NFMFT Pork & Bacon Section in 1994 on its amalgamation into the General Section. He became a member of the Federation in 1970 and joined the National Executive Council representing the North East in 1998 and became the National President in 2009. He is greatly involved in organising the Great Yorkshire Pork Pie, Sausage & Product Competition held annually reputedly the best Independent Competition in the UK.
In his spare time... involved in Amateur Dramatics recently in Little Women and is Front of House Manager for the Keighley Playhouse.