A well-known Blackpool hairdresser is hanging up his scissors - with a vote of thanks from one of his most loyal customers.
Carl Mills, 70, who has been cutting hair on Waterloo Road for more than 50 years is to retire.
And this week he performed the final cut for Carole Holmes who has been getting her hair done by him for 42 years.
Carole, also 70, who is visually impaired, said Carl was the only person who could manage her curly hair properly.
Carole who has an MBE for her work with blind charities and campaigns, said: “I had been to lots of hairdressers before Carl but my hair is very curly and hard to cut.
“I was at a wedding and talking to Pauline Gaunt who also had curly hair and asked who cut hers. She told me to go to Carl. I cannot see myself so have to trust him but my daughters used to tell me if my hair was not right.
“Carl has been great with me over the years and my guide dogs. He is very perceptive and I have always been able to trust him.
“He told me he is good with curly hair because his is curly too.
“He did my hair when I went to Buckingham Palace for my MBE. He has been brilliant and is showing the lady taking over how to deal with my hair in future.”
Carl, a former Arnold pupil who left school at 14 to be a hairdresser, said he will spend his retirement working as a Friend of the Grand and going on cruises.
He said: “It is the only thing I ever wanted to do. I worked in several salons before getting my own at 19. It was in Marton Drive but then I moved here to Waterloo Road – actually at the time it was called Cow Gap Lane.
“It was called Carl’s but has now changed to the new name Athena under new owner Jo Murray.
“I had wanted to call it Carl Anthony but didn’t have enough money for the sign so it stayed Carl’s.
“I have loved doing this, there is always something new to learn. My daughter Kerry Kearney has her own salon, Icon at Kirkham and her daughter Chloe has Thalia beauty salon above it.
“I have been so lucky to have worked with wonderful staff over the years including Karen Shorrocks and wonderful customers and will miss them all.”
And the trick to dealing with curly hair?
Carl said: “Curly hair really is hard work, you have to cut into the curl not against it.
“I should know, my hair was always curly. I had an Afro before it was ever fashionable!”