John cuts his way to retrirement

FOR one Ipswich barber the time has come to hang up his scissors and cease snipping as he retires after half a century in business, serving his local community.

FOR one Ipswich barber the time has come to hang up his scissors and cease snipping as he retires after half a century in business, serving his local community.

John Bally, of King Edward Road has cut hair in Ipswich for 50 years, but today he will shut the doors at John's, The Barbers on Felixstowe Road for good.

He began his career as an apprentice at the Co-op on Carr Street, when he was just 15 years old.

After five years working there at just 20 he moved into his own shop, where he has cut the hair of his loyal customers ever since.

But with the prospect of retirement looming Mr Bally said he will miss work.

“I have been cutting some of my customers hair for so many years but there comes a time when the knees start hurting a little bit more, after standing for 50 years,” he said.

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“I have been busy over the years so I will miss it.”

For his loyal band of customers, his shop became a meeting place where people waiting for a short back and sides would catch up with old friends and neighbours.

“It is more than just a barbers, it is a meeting point,” Mr Bally added. “Everybody knows each other and they come in for a talk with one another as they wait.

“I have never taken appointments so people have to come in and wait, watching my Ipswich Town videos listening to my bad jokes or chatting away. It is more like a social event each day.”

And his shop will be left in the capable hands of one of his daughters, Maria Hare, who owns next-door 'Hares and Graces.'

But the 65-year-old admits he can't hang up the scissors altogether. He said: “I am going in one day a week, just to help my daughter and to keep my hand in.”

And with more free time on his hands the family-man is looking forward to spending more time with his wife of 43 years Joyce, their three children and seven grandchildren.

“I am definitely looking forward to spending more time with them all. It will be great to have more time to take the grandchildren down to our beach hut at Old Felixstowe. We were there at the weekend and they love it, they have been in and out swimming in the sea already this summer.”

His son Chris said his dad had been a big influence in his local community over the years.

“He has been part of that community for many years and if I had a pound for every time someone referred to me as 'John the Barber's son' I'd be very rich.”

January 20 1961 - John F. Kennedy sworn in as President of the United States.

August 5 1962 - Marilyn Monroe found dead.

1962 - Ipswich Town win the First Division Championship.

July 1969 - Neil Armstrong steps foot on the moon.

January 1969 - Bobby Robson signed as manager of Ipswich Town

Aril 2 1977 - Red Rum wins third Grand National.

May 6 1978 - Ipswich Town beat Arsenal to win FA Cup.

March, 28 1981 - First London Marathon.

May 1981 - Ipswich Town win the UEFA cup.

July 13 1985 - First Live Aid concert raises �30million for Africa.

October 16 1987 - Hurricane winds batter southern England.

May 29 2000 - Ipswich Town beat Barnsley 4-2 in the Play-off finals to get promoted to the Premiership.

December 2007 - Marcus Evans becomes major shareholder at Ipswich Town.

April 2009 - Roy Keane signed as Ipswich Town manager.