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Byline: JACK EVANSYLER News Reporter

HE has snipped the hair of more than 500,000 people - but now Britain's longest-serving barber is finally hanging up his scissors after a staggering 65 years.

Brian Higgins has been styling and trimming hair in his Worcester salon since 1960 and has decided to retire at the age of 79.

In his long career he has even cut Paul McCartney's iconic Beatles' mop-top.

He began cutting his friends' hair as a teenager and started working at Skan's barber's shop in 1960 after popping in on the off chance to ask if there was any spare work. The owner was so impressed with his scissor skills that he gave him a job on the spot and Brian has been there since.

So nippy is he, customers and staff call him the "man with the flying scissors".

In 1968 he took over the shop, in Broad Street, and has run it with business partner David Smith, 69, ever since. In that time he estimates he's cut the hair of more than 500,000 people. One of them was Paul McCartney who nipped in for a trim after playing a gig in Worcester in the 1960s. Brian said he reckons he was better able to cut the star's distinctive mop-top hair because he had been trained to cut women's long hair at college. Brian, who has four grandchildren, is now retiring to spend more time with his family. His wife Delphine died in 2003, aged just 61, and Brian said it was carrying on working that kept him going through the grief process.

"I don't know anybody who has been serving longer as a continuous barber. I kept on working after my wife's passing for something to do and because I thoroughly enjoyed it as well," he said.

It was the coronavirus pandemic which eventually forced him to take a long-overdue retirement, after his two sons and grandchildren advised him not to return to work when salons were allowed to reopen.

He said he got his fast scissors nickname when a customer pointed out how quick he was at cutting hair.

"One day I customer said to me 'I'm not in a hurry' and that's when I twigged some people thought I was working too fast," he said. "I haven't kept count but I must've done around half a million cuts and in the early days I used to cut 35 to 40 heads a day. It's gone down nowadays because of people's expectations. "They want you to take more time and they want to feel pampered, they don't want to feel you are rushing through them.

"The industry has totally changed and there are too many hairdressers for the number of people."


Brian Higgins in his shop and, left, measuring the length of a customer's hair way back in 1972

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Author:JACK EVANSYLER News Reporter
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 14, 2020
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