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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006, 12:30 GMT
Prize butcher hangs up his apron
Wavell Roberts
Wavell Roberts' string of awards helped sales go up
An award-winning north Wales butcher whose sausages are known internationally is retiring after 40 years.

Wavell Roberts, 64, and his wife Elizabeth will leave their shop in Llanrug near Caernarfon next month.

The shop's award-winning sausages and pies have been enjoyed as far away as Nigeria and Taiwan.

"We will miss the customers and the fun in the shop dreadfully," said Mr Roberts.

Mr Roberts started work at a butchers shop while still at school "doing the rounds on a bike" but when he left school at 15 to work full-time he became a quarryman in Llanberis.

When he was 23 he had the chance to buy the shop where he had been helping and prompted by wife Elizabeth took the plunge.

It takes about three hours to cook competition sausage. Each one is handled with gloved hands, cooked individually, with an oil change between each one
Elizabeth Roberts, butcher's wife

The business was in rented premises until Mr Roberts bought a near-derelict building in Llanrug a few years later.

"He bought the place whilst I was away in Blackpool for the weekend," said Mrs Roberts.

"I thought he's lost it when I opened the front door to see a huge hole in the front room containing a three-piece suite and a piano," she added.

700lbs sold every week in summer
400lb sold every week in winter
7 different varieties available in peak season

They put all their energy into refurbishing the business and then the house - living at one time in a caravan at the bottom of the garden with their daughters Linda, Dawn and Wendy.

Sausages were not a big seller in the shop until 1992 when Mr Roberts entered his first competition after becoming a member of a trade association.

"We had no idea how to present the sausages, and we didn't win anything," said Mr Roberts.

Competition sausages are presented as eight identical raw and eight identical cooked.

Sausage sales

He competed again the following year and was "overjoyed" when he won. More competitions followed, with sausage sales in the shop going up each time.

In winter the shop stocks just three varieties, but in summer varieties such as Spanish chorizo are sold.

The awards won are too numerous to mention, but Mr Roberts is especially proud of becoming supreme champion in north Wales and then coming second in the British competition.

His location can be a disadvantage, though.

"We had to cook the sausages the day before and then travel down to the competition in London with the sausages packed in a cool box," said Mrs Roberts, who undertakes the delicate task of cooking the competition sausages.

"It takes about three hours to cook the competition sausages. Each one is handled with gloved hands, cooked individually, with an oil change between each one," she said.

Bryn Williams, who works for Mr Roberts, and his wife Angela will take over the business.

"We've said we will help them with the sausage competitions," said Mrs Roberts.

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