SKIPTON Auto Services has a new owner, though a familiar face will be there for some time to come.

After more than 50 years George Allen, who started the business with David Baxter, a former colleague from Skipton Motor Company days - among other historic changes - has sold the business but will remain working there for the foreseeable future.

David retired in 2016 though had been helping out with MOTs and George carried on on his own with his wife, Kath, in the office.

Sadly Kath died earlier this year, but moves had already begun for George to pass the business onto the next pair of ‘younger’ hands and now Matt Bond is at the helm. However, George says his old customers can expect the same great service they were always used to and calling in most days to help out will keep him occupied.

“Nothing has really changed. When I met Matt I could see he was a good, honest bloke and a great mechanic. He will be carrying on with MOT testing, repairs and services and will also be fitting tyres now. I will help out with MOT testing as well.”

“I just want to thank all my loyal customers over the years. Many of their children are now customers and I want them to know they will still be looked after just as well.”

Matt, 40, starting his career in mechanics with Walter C Brigg, of Cowling, back in June 1998, fresh from South Craven School. From then on he was part of the fixtures and fittings in the garage, moving from Cowling to Cross Hills. When the dealership expanded in 2002 Matt became known locally as the Vauxhall man, not only for his knowledge of the cars but also due to the vast collection of old Vauxhalls he stores.

Walter C Brigg was then taken over by the large plc Bristol Street Motors in 2013 and Matt’s blue collar job went to white when he became workshop controller, and then back to blue when he realised he missed being under a bonnet.

Leaving to set up his own business Matt said: “I cant explain the sadness I feel to be leaving Vauxhall after 24 years but also the excitement for the future to be in total control of every aspect of maintaining and repairing cars with the transparency that every customer deserves when it comes to looking after their cars. I aim to continue with the level of service that George has maintained for the last 50+ years but also grow the business to meet new people and provide a service that will keep people coming back for years to come with a friendly face upon every visit.”

Matt, however, has not come to Skipton alone. He has brought with him his pride and joy, a white 1981 Opel Kadett which he is so fond of, he has made it part of his new Skipton Auto Services logo.

The firm has also kept the old phone number.