KEITH Spearing had to say farewell to the backs of plenty of Ballina heads last Friday.
The 69-year-old barber who has been cutting hair in the CBD since 1965 has now retired, and looks forward to more time on the bowling green, some travel and working in the garden.
Keith, who is originally from Broadwater, did his hairdressing apprenticeship in Lismore, and was first employed in 1959 as a ladies hairdresser.
It was a job opportunity that he couldn't knock back, but he said it was rare at the time for men to work in ladies salons.
But it was always his intention, he said, to be a barber.
He bought a shop near where the traffic lights are in River St in February 1965, and worked there for 14 years.
Then he had a two-year break, which he filled in pouring beer at clubs around town and working as a labourer.
An opportunity came up to get back into hairdressing, and he moved into the River St shop opposite the Ballina RSL Club car park, where he has been ever since.
Being a barber is a job that pays off in more ways than one.
Blokes like to chat while they sit in the chair, and Keith said he had received plenty of tips on horse races - and many of them have paid off.
He has heard, and told, lots of jokes too.
To keep the conversation going, he keeps a close eye on sport.
He follows the Geelong Cats in the AFL, but was a tad embarrassed to admit he supports the struggling Parramatta Eels in the rugby league.
Keith, who is also on the board of the Ballina RSL Club, thanked all the customers he has seen over the years for their support.
He has also cut some famous hair in his time, including the last entertainer, Peter Allen, and former Wallaby Michael Lynagh.
The shop will stay open as a unisex hairdresser operated by Emily Edwards.
I've received plenty of tips on horse races - and many of them have paid off.