SALTAIRE has one of the oldest dry cleaners in Yorkshire, if not the oldest, claims the 81-year-old owner of a long-time business in the village.

"I would think I am at least the oldest dry cleaner in Yorkshire," said Bevan Roper, 81, owner of Saltaire Dry Cleaners, on Bingley Road. "I've not come across anybody older."

Mr Roper, who lives in Allerton, joked that he does not advertise how old he is. "I just don't tell anybody how old I am."

The octogenarian dry cleaner worked as a chemical trader before retiring at the age at the age of 60.

However, it soon become apparent that retirement did not suit him.

"I got bored with retirement," said Mr Roper, who then made the decision to buy a dry cleaning business. "It was available so I bought it."

The Saltaire dry cleaner enjoys his work and does not have have any plans to retire anytime soon.

He said: "I want to continue as long as I can because I can't visualise myself sat in a chair vegetating. That's not my thing."

Mr Roper continues to work hard at age 81 and even suffering from haemophilia has never slowed him down.

"Haemophilia is something you're born with and because of that it's normal for me. I try to avoid situations where I might sustain a cut, but if do I have to take my medication when I have a bleed.

He said that business had been going well over the years, and then the COVID-19 pandemic changed things.

"Business obviously changed during the COVID pandemic," said Mr Roper. "It's just sort of ticking over now."

"People aren't going out as much as they used to. They are also not going into work and not wearing suits.

Since he started in the business 20 years ago, technology advances have seen changes in machinery, and aspects of the business such as ironing have increased more and more in recent years.

"People have a busy family life," said Mr Roper. "They don't seem to have the time for things like ironing."

Another part of the dry cleaning business that has changed is offering a delivery service.

"We never used to do a delivery service at all," said Mr Roper. "Now we go out as far as Skipton and Thornbury the other way.

"It's once again people not having the time to pick up their dry cleaning, so we've had to change with the times.

"We try to give an all around service to provide the customer with convenience."

Mr Roper said that he does the deliveries himself on Tuesdays and Fridays, picking up and dropping off suits in various places.

But he enjoys getting out spending time with his customers across the area.

"Meeting up with the customers is a big part of the buzz for me," said Mr Roper.