Tribute to our barber Neville

Neville Allen, currently the only barber in Forbes, will soon be hanging up his combs and clippers after almost 63 years.
Neville Allen, currently the only barber in Forbes, will soon be hanging up his combs and clippers after almost 63 years.

As many of you would know my brother Neville Allen, the only barber left in Forbes, will soon be hanging up his combs and clippers after almost 63 years.

I felt I needed to write to express how proud I am of his achievements and to publicly thank the many clients who have supported Neville over the years, as without you this success story would not be.

The third child of Richard (Dick) Allen and Thelma Allen, Neville attended primary school at Daroobalgie and later at Calarie before attending Forbes High School. I have fond memories of sharing a horse and bike to school for the 13km trek to school each day. I always believed Neville could have been a very bright student if he had put his mind to it, though school didn’t interest him much.

This was perhaps a blessing as his passion certainly laid in hairdressing. On October 4, 1954 he started as an apprentice to the late Les Brown, one of the best in the field. The barbers shop was then located at the back of Gunns Mensland and Neville remained working with Les for seven and half years.

In 1962, our Mother advanced him three hundred pounds to start his own business and after a short time he repaid the loan and the rest is history. He moved in to the premises on Templar Street which was then part of the Metropolitan Hotel and is now where Painted Daises is located. Neville continued to work in those premises until Cahills Footwear needed to relocate to a larger shop and he made the move next door to continue his work. Over the years he has built up an amazing clientele who come from near and far to get their hair cut whilst telling a story, a joke and listen to the tales of many who frequent the shop. Neville says the social aspect is one he is sure he will miss.

With Neville’s pending heart surgery this month, I feel it is most fitting that I give thanks to his wife Alice (they have been married almost 55 years). As is often said “behind every successful man is a woman” and that is certainly true of Alice. They have three children Brent, Debra and Geoffrey whom have all left the nest, married and live away from Forbes but visit as often as they can. On behalf of my brother Neville, I wish to also thank Robert Grant who has often filled in for him during sickness and medical appointments. Robert learnt his trade with the late Joe Rogan and I know Neville and his family are very grateful for his work, support and friendship.