Welcome to our first #TalkUpIlminster feature. This week we spoke to business stalwart Clinton Bonner, and alongside the feature he is offering a free award-winning sausage roll to News readers. For yours, make sure you pick up a Chard & Ilminster News paper and cut out the voucher.

BONNERS the Butchers has been at the heart of Ilminster for 50 years, and the firm’s figurehead says he has no plans to hang up his gloves.

Changing with the times is key for Clinton Bonner, who now runs the business his father founded back in December 1969.

Michael Bonner moved to Somerset from London after managing a group of butchers.

Clinton said: “He started by renting it off the landlord, and made £274 in the first week.

“We started from there. There was one member of staff, my mother, and now we have 14.”

Growth was gradual, but over the past five decades Bonners have developed its catering to pubs, and transformed the deli into an award-winning enterprise.

More recently, Clinton’s team has expanded its offering with ready meals for on-the-go clients.

He added: “We source all our meat locally and we know the farmers - our job is to get out there and get to know them so if a customer asks where it came from, I can tell them the exact farm or the exact farmer.

“We are always adapting, so we now do mix and match meal deals so if people know they have a certain amount we can make sure they are getting the best for their money.

“We want to make it welcoming and offer advice, and offer all things to all people.

“We are now doing ready meals, like cottage pies with our own meats, because people have less time to cook now. We want them to still be able to get quality food.”

In 2000, Michael retired aged 65 and Clinton, who was then 40, took over the business.

The Bonners heir had originally dreamed of life as a dentist, but after that didn’t work out he joined his father’s firm.

Clinton has two children; a son who worked with him once before quickly deciding the butchers wasn’t for him, and a daughter who is now following in her father’s original dream and training to be a dentist.

“I have no option to retire at the moment, and I am very happy and I do enjoy it,” Clinton said.

“We have been trading here for 50 years - we may be the longest established shop in Ilminster.

“We have seen some changes in that time, and I honestly believe all for the good.

“It is progress, and you can’t stand in the way of progress..

“Even Tesco; it is in the right place, it provides free parking so people can walk into the town, and it is actually in the town rather than out on Southfields roundabout.”

Michael was also instrumental in setting up the town’s Christmas lights in 1982, and when he passed away Clinton became the committee’s chairman.

He said: “What I like about Ilminster is there are a lot of independent shops and we all get on so well. You can walk down the street and if takes half an hour to reach market square.

“You get something in Ilminster that you can’t get in many other places, and the people that come to Ilminster only improve it.”