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Owner of Pateley Bridge's Oldest Sweet Shop in England wins Queen's honour

Keith Tordoff.
Keith Tordoff.

It is a story of sweet success for Keith Tordoff – Nidderdale’s Chamber of Trade chairman who finds the area so filled with charm that he has declined to take a holiday for two decades.

The 62-year-old former police officer runs the Oldest Sweet Shop in England, in Pateley Bridge, a business he took over 25 years ago and which now attracts countless visitors to the North Yorkshire market town.

And his role in that area’s reversal of fortunes is one that has led to him being honoured with an MBE for services to business and to the community in Nidderdale.

He said: “I’m very excited, very emotional and very honoured.

“I’m very proud to say we have a high street which has no empty shops, which in this climate is very unique, as I understand it.”

The main shopping street was once ailing but later rejuvenated under his stewardship, and Pateley Bridge won the village category of the Great British High Street Awards in 2016.

He also worked with Nidderdale High School to build a Business Resource Centre for students, which Prince Charles turned out to open.

After working at Leeds’s Kirkgate Market as a youngster, Mr Tordoff joined the police.

“My love of sweets was known by the officers. When we were out and about, they used to say ‘What you got tonight Tordy?’ I’d say ‘jelly beans’ and they’d say ‘Ooh, fantastic!’”

He took over his shop from an elderly woman who kept “no books, no records and no stock”, but who knew he would be interested. In 2014, his business – which dates back to 1827 – was named the oldest sweet shop in the world by the Guinness Book of Records. He said: “I haven’t been on holiday in 20 years – why would I need to when I’ve got the whole of Nidderdale, which has everything?”

Meanwhile Roger Charnley, 82, has been recognised for his voluntary service to business and the community after setting up the Burley and District Chamber of Trade in West Yorkshire.