Beloved Honiton barber of 50 years retires a day before Christmas
PUBLISHED: 12:03 24 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:05 24 December 2019
A long-serving Honiton barber has put down his scissors for the final time and said: "It's time to hand over to the younger ones."
Alan Rowe MBE has been a key presence in Honiton's town centre for more than 20 years after setting up his barbershop off High Street in 1992.
Mr Rowe, who is founder of military charity The Baton, completed his final working day on Christmas Eve - but won't be closing down his business.
Instead, his daughter Jenny is taking the company forward with the same name, alongside Sally Bowey, who has been cutting hair with the Rowe family for 24 years.
Mr Rowe, who previously ran a barbers in Ottery and Sidmouth for a total of 13 years before moving to Honiton, has paid a touching tribute to his customers past and present.
He said: "They have left a huge imprint. The people in this town are so generous.
"They have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity, through the shop.
"When I have taken a challenge on to raise money, they are the ones who sponsor me and afterwards, they are the ones who ask 'What's next?'."
Mr Rowe said he is retiring for a number of reasons, one being the strain constant barbering has placed on his thumbs.
However, he has no plans to relax - instead he will be diving headfirst into his work with The Baton. The charity's primary mission is to raise and maintain awareness within society regarding the reality of life for service personnel and their families, and to 'promote the level of support that they are due'.
Mr Rowe said: "We are doing a huge amount in Denmark with the Danish Baton.
"There have been so much that needs doing in this country for our forces and families."
Mr Rowe said following his retirement, he and his wife Pauline will endeavour to take up more cross country walking.
He has also pencilled in a gruelling charitable run to mark the completion of physiotherapy he has undertaking.
Mr Rowe said: "Barbering has provided a great window into humanity and life.
"People will talk to you when you are cutting their hair - that's what helped me get involved with The Baton. I have seen into the eyes of men with issues stemming from wars.
"It has been truly humbling."