BRITAIN'S longest-serving butcher fears her business may eventually face the chop due to the demise of the high street and the rise in veganism.

Pat Jenkins, who has just turned 80, has been a butcher for more than 60 years after joining her father Albert Musselwhite in the family business in 1958.

Although she still runs Mason's butchers in Christchurch Road, Pokesdown with son Andrew, 55, custom has declined by a third in the last decade.

Their shop was once one of 11 independent butchers on the three-mile stretch of road. Now Pat's shop is the last one standing. However, she believes it will also close within a decade.

"The business has changed a lot over the years," she said.

"Years ago meat was the thing to have, everyone had their meat and two veg. But now a lot of people are very anti-meat and say it's not good for you.

"Meat gets a lot of bad publicity. Veganism and vegetarianism is the hot topic with younger people. It seems that each generation coming up is less meat-orientated.

"Supermarkets and parking problems have made things tougher too. If people can easily park then they will stop and come in but if they can't park they will keep on going to the supermarket."

The business has been able to keep going because of its reputation, she said.

"People know they will get top quality meat from us. They still say 'If you want something good, you better go to Mason's'," she said.

"We have some regular customers that still come in every week but we only see most customers at Christmas for their turkey or if they want something special because they have visitors coming or something like that.

"But mostly people won't make a special trip anymore because there's nothing else on the high street. There used to be butchers and greengrocers and fishmongers, now it's just estate agents and beauty salons here.

"I doubt there will be any small shops left in five or ten years' time, including ours. The high street is dying, it definitely is."

Pat's father took over the business in 1945, and she first began working at the shop at the age of 19 in 1958.

She took over the business in 1973 after her father died and her son Andrew joined her aged 17 in 1981.

Mason's supplies locally-sourced beef, pork, lamb and chicken, homemade sausages, burgers and pies and a range of exotic meats including bison, wild boar, kangaroo, ostrich and camel.