Nidderdale Voices with Richard Shillito

Richard Shillito when he met Clare Balding OBE
Richard Shillito when he met Clare Balding OBE
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Richard Shillito runs three shops on Pateley Bridge High Street - RS Discounts, RS Pet & Garden Supplies and Greetings Gifts Occasions (card and gift shop).

Richard Shillito runs three shops on Pateley Bridge High Street - RS Discounts, RS Pet & Garden Supplies and Greetings Gifts Occasions (card and gift shop). Richard has run a retail business on the High Street for over 35 years. It is well known that you can get most things you need from Richard’s shop with the saying “if Richard hasn’t got it, you probably don’t need it”.

In June 2017 Richard’s daughter Melissa made him a granddad with the arrival of Ella Louise.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’ve lived in Pateley Bridge all my life, my dad George ran the cinema which stood on the now St Cuthbert’s School car park and playground, I can remember sitting in the balcony watching my first film Tom Thumb, the cinema closed in 1963. When I was about 10 I used to help my gran in her grocers shop which is now Park View Stores.

After leaving school I went to work at Tankfit UK Ltd for £10.64 per week. Tankfit was next to the Royal Oak in Bridghouse Gate, now long gone and converted into housing. It was a light engineering works where I machined liquid transfer fittings for road and rail tankers.

In September 1980 I was made redundant and received my redundancy pay - a whole £210 of it. Not wanting to go on the dole I did a bit of this and a bit of that for a year before setting up a security alarm business with a lad from Leeds, that lasted about a year before we went our separate ways.

Mid 1982 out of the blue I got it into my head that I wanted to open a shop so on the 16th December 1982 I moved into The Apothecary’s House, 35 High Street and RS Discounts was born, predominantly an electrical shop. In Jan 96 I moved across the road which is now Crows Nest antiques before moving again in March 2001 to where I am now.

Describe a typical day for you

At this time of year it’s “oh no do I have to” having been up into the early hours packing orders from my Christmas website. Once I’ve had a cuppa and a bit of toast it’s a chat with Sue who runs the Pet & Garden Supply shop before seeing Ann who runs the Card shop. Then it’s another day of having a laugh and a bit of serious ness thrown in with my customers and twice a week getting off to the wholesalers late afternoon and getting back at 9pm onwards.

What would be your perfect day out?

Spending time with Melissa, new granddaughter Ella Louise or winding down sat outside a villa in the Spanish mountains - it’s the only time I can really switch off.

What’s your favourite part of the Dale?

That brown sign that says welcome to Nidderdale . I don’t have a favourite part I like it all, like going up Old Church Lane looking at the un-spoilt views of Pateley and up towards Gouthwaite.

Which is your favourite Nidderdale business?

The ones that have foresight and can see the benefits of being in the chamber of trade and what it brings directly or indirectly to their business.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in Nidderdale?

When I was a kid I knew everybody, their name and where they lived now I don’t know the names of most of my customers. The vast increase in cars as most households have two or more.

What makes Nidderdale so special?

The views and diversity of the businesses and population within it.

What would you say to recommend Nidderdale?

Everyone is made welcome, whether they’re here for the day, on holiday or newcomers, Great places to stay, eat and shop. City dwellers be warned - we will talk to you.

If there’s one thing you could change, what would it be?

The railway from Pateley to Scar as it would so benefit the upper dale and a manned police station. Besides that not much.