Lords, ladies and a pop star have been amongst the customers served by Nigel Watmough during his long and successful career.
And this month he is celebrating 30 years of running his own business, LB Upholstery, which is based at his home in Winslow.
His family threw a party and daughter Vicki, 23, said: “Dad has a rare and special attitude that I will always admire. After all this time he is still so enthusiastic and passionate about his work, and his work is amazing!”
Nigel, 53, left school at 16 and began a five year apprenticeship which led to him starting up his own business when he was just 23.
He first worked from a Nissan Hut in Leighton Buzzard before moving into a traditional shop in the town, from where his business really took off and built its reputation.
In 1995 he took the decision to move the business to a purpose built workshop at his home in Winslow, where he lives with his wfe Judy, a nurse, and their children Vicki, who is now a consultant in a software business, and Paul, who is currently at Aberystwyth University.
“The shop was brilliant,” said Nigel, “but upholstery is very labour intensive. Ideally it is best for an upholster to work from a workshop so you don’t get interrupted, and to see customers by appointment.”
Being based at home also enabled Nigel to see more of his young family.
“Dad is such a big inspiration to us,” said Vicki. “He has always provided everything for us and still manages to be around us at the same time.
“When we were growing up Paul and I helped with the cleaning up and making buttons.”
Over the years Nigel has worked for many interesting people, including knights of the realm and Ian Gillan, the lead singer of Deep Purple, and his wife Bron.
“They were lovely people,” said Nigel. “There are some moments you will never forget. They used to live in Cublington but they’ve moved to the south coast now.
“I did a sofa, chairs and curtains for them. I never imagined having the opportunity to do work for such amazing people.
“Bron even went on to decorate my shop window for Christmas that year.”
Nigel, a keen golfer, is still hard at work, he is booked up to Christmas, with no thoughts of retirement yet. But he said: “I’d like to retire at 60, I’ve been working since I was 16, but who knows what is in the future?