Only a humble butcher - but he has royal links

BUTCHER Paul Conway has lifted a Regional Business of The Year Award - and the glory led to a chat with Prince Charles about making sausages!

Paul, who is now one of six in the running for a national award, says he still feels the events of the few months have been "surreal," but he's absolutely delighted.

"I've never won anything before, and now this. It's fantastic," he said.

After attending a glittering ceremony where Provost Pat Connelly presented him with his Royal Bank of Scotland sponsored award Paul took up a surprise invitation to Holyrood, where he and others who've benefited from the Prince's Trust got the chance to show how their businesses have grown.

Paul sat up half the night writing and re-writing his speech - which he had been told he would have to deliver in front of, not only MSPs, but Prince Charles himself.

"I was totally stressed out and I read it to my wife about four times. Then I got told there wouldn't be time for me to give the speech after all," he said.

However, on the big day Paul was stunned when one MSP shouted out a demand to hear from the butcher.

Having left his speech behind Paul gave a short, off the cuff, talk on how he had been refused cash from the banks to start his Kilsyth Main Street business, but managed to get it off the ground with the help of a Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust start-up loan.

As he was talking Paul was amazed to see Prince Charles paying close attention to what he was saying.

The Prince also approached him later for a chat - about making sausages!

"He seemed genuinely interested. I just couldn't believe he took the time to talk to me - it was amazing. When you think of the number of people he meets," Paul said.

Paul will find out if he has made it to the finals of the business awards at the end of this month.