END OF AN ERA: Fenland councillor closes the family coal business after 50 years

PUBLISHED: 16:46 17 June 2008 | UPDATED: 08:30 02 June 2010

Ralph and Pat Butcher, coal merchants from Coates who have sold their business

Ralph and Pat Butcher, coal merchants from Coates who have sold their business

A COAL and aggregate merchant, formed by a Fenland councillor s father more than 50 years ago, has been sold and closed. But it leaves Ralph Butcher to concentrate on his second job – as a councillor currently serving on three councils. The sale is done

A COAL and aggregate merchant, formed by a Fenland councillor's father more than 50 years ago, has been sold and closed.

But it leaves Ralph Butcher to concentrate on his second job - as a councillor currently serving on three councils.

"The sale is done and dusted and should be completed by the end of next month," said Coates-based Cllr Butcher. "But it is now closed down.

"We got to the stage where we could make a living but could not make much profit any more, so we decided to sell up."

The coal side of the business has been sold to CPL Products, based at Sutton. The aggregate business, however, has been closed down.

"We felt we would not be able to sell it," said Cllr Butcher.

The business - T R Butcher & Son - was formed in 1954 by Cllr Butcher's father. Cllr Butcher started working alongside his father after leaving school and joined him in partnership in 1964, before taking over the business 10 years later.

His oldest son Stuart then joined him about five years later, and the business became a limited company in 1981. Cllr Butcher's wife Pam and second son Kevin have also played a role in the business over the last 25 years.

Cllr Butcher, 66, is currently vice-chairman of Fenland District Council, and serves on Whittlesey Town Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

"I have still got a full-time job that I enjoy," said Cllr Butcher. "I have lived and worked in the area my entire life, and it is nice to be in touch with the public through these roles.


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