Como butcher Ted Cary closes shop after health battle

The good news is renowned Como butcher Ted Cary is "on deck and going good" after treatment for a tumour on his lung.

The bad news is Mr Cary, 86, has cut up his last carcass and the future of the little shop his father opened in 1926 is very uncertain.

"There's no way I could reopen it," Mr Cary said.

"Shops are a dime a dozen, so I think they will just pull it down."

He worked at the shop, which he owns, from 1947.

Mr Cary thanked his customers for their cards and messages when he took time off after being diagnosed with the tumour in March this year.

"I went for a small medical for my driver's licence and told the doctor I was a little short of breath," he said.

"He said I should go and get an X-ray."

Mr Cary said a tumour on his lung was discovered.

"I have been having radiotherapy and am responding to treatment"," he said.

"I am on deck, I am going good. I still may not have cancer."

In 2013, Leader reporter Belinda Connolly wrote:

Walking into Cary's Butcher Shop at Como is like stepping back in time.

There are no neatly displayed cuts of meat dotted with sprigs of parsley - only whole carcasses, a butcher's block and a variety of extremely sharp knives. That way the meat stays fresh, says owner Ted Cary.

Mr Cary's father opened the store in 1926 and Mr Carey jnr started there when he was just shy of 15. Mr Cary will celebrate his 80th birthday soon and still works six full days a week.

"I was forced into working in the shop; my grandfather had a butcher's shop at Sutherland and he actually died in it," he said.

"My grandfather had 13 kids and my dad was the only breadwinner.

"He already worked in the leather trade making saddles for the army and when my grandfather died he had to get two jobs."

Mr Cary recalls hearing his dad talk about how different Como was in "the golden days".

"When the shop was built, boats would sail into the bay from the river but then it was filled in and it left a muddy mess," he said.

"There were eight shops along here and the railway station was on the other side of the pub. When the station moved everyone moved with it and left me here."

Some of Mr Cary's customers are fourth generation family members and many greet him by name.

Mr Cary is embroiled in a playful fight with fellow octogenarian butcher Leo Payne, who has a Cronulla store.

"I don't mind being the young one; he keeps me going," Mr Cary said. "We stir each other. It is beautiful."

[Leo Payne retired in 2014 and died this year, aged 87.