A POPULAR city barber is retiring after cutting hair in Worcester for sixty years and earning the nickname ‘the man with flying scissors.’ Brian Higgins, 79, is leaving Skan’s Barber Shop in Broad Street after a career in which he once cut Paul McCartney’s hair as a young Beatle.

He said: “I moved to Worcester in 1960 and happened to walk by Skan’s Barbershop, then in Foregate Street. I enjoyed watching other barbers work, that’s the thing about the job you can always pick up new ways of doing things. Mr Skan came out and asked me if the queue was too long for me, I said no, I am actually a hairdresser myself. He invited me in and told me to show him what I could do. I did two haircuts and he gave me a job just like that. I have been at Skan’s ever since and enjoyed every moment of it.

Mr Higgins said a career highlight was when the Beatles visited in 1963 to perform at the Odeon and Paul McCartney came to the shop for a haircut. But he added it was the “everyday people who made the job.”

He said: “Seeing young boys become grown men, chatting about all sorts, they often compare the hairdresser to the priest - it’s where man comes to confess sin!”

His career began at the tender age of 14. Mr Higgins said: “I was fourteen and had just finished school. My mother wanted me to go on to do an agricultural course at the local college - but my heart was set on becoming a decorative sign painter. My mother eventually agreed and I signed up, but there was a waiting list, my mother wasn’t going to allow me to sit at home and do nothing whilst I waited.

“She told me about an apprenticeship at a hairdressers in the town, my first response was ‘I’m not doing a sissy boy job like that,’ but my father sent me round. Apprentices weren’t paid back then, in fact you had to pay them. I decided I would do whatever I could to get kicked out of the shop, starting by negotiating a wage.

“I’ll admit I was a cheeky young lad, I managed to earn fifty pence a week and fell in love with the place; I was offered a sign writing position a few weeks after I started, but I turned it down. I had found my calling.

Mr Higgins added: “My customers were everything to me and I would like to thank them very much for all of their kindness and support over the years. It has been the most wonderful journey. I am extremely sad to be leaving, I always planned to work until I no longer could, but the pandemic has meant it is too dangerous for me to come back after shielding for so many months.

“This industry will always have a special place in my heart, but now, after sixty five years I am looking forward to spending my retirement with my children and grandchildren.”