A dedicated barber has celebrated half a century in the profession - and he has worked in the same shop all of his career.

Over the years, long-serving Mario Petagine has become part of the furniture at Headhunters in Watford town centre.

Mr Petagine officially retired on his 65th birthday in 2013 but he loves his job and his loyal customers so much, he continues to come in Fridays and Saturdays.

Watford Observer:

Mario pictured in 2013 when he retired from full-time employment at Headhunters

Seven years on from his 65th, Mr Petagine is still going strong and this week, the staff at Headhunters, including boss Tony Alexandrou, surprised him with a gift and cake to celebrate the 50 year milestone.

They gave him a customised Watford FC top with 'Mario' on the back and the number '50'.

Manager at Headhunters, Samir Rassoul, said: "Mario is the best thing to happen to this shop. It is very rare to find a barber working in the same place for so many years. He is so loyal and everybody loves him. The celebration was to show our appreciation to him."

Watford Observer:

Mario was given a special Watford shirt Credit: Antony Alexandrou/3A Photography

Watford Observer:

Mr Petagine moved to Watford from Italy when he was 22-years-old and he has spent his working life at Headhunters in Lower High Street.

Even though he is now in his 70s, he is not ready to put the scissors down just yet.

He said: "I feel fit and well, just like when I started. I have got so many customers and some I have been doing their hair for 50 years.

"I've been very happy here and I'm quite happy to carry on."