Two Coronation Street stars saw a ‘veally’ good turnout at the Forum Shopping Centre as the pair officially opened a new butchers shop today (Saturday April 11).

In a (medium) rare treat, Steven Arnold, who played butcher Ashley Peacock in the soap for 15 years and Andrew Whyment, who still plays Kirk Sutherland, were the butcher’s choice to open Chester’s new branch of Wayne Walker’s Quality Meats, enjoying a special ‘meat’ and greet with the public.

The pair chatted to fans for three hours, posed for selfies and signed autographs at the new store, the latest branch in a multi-million turnover business which has headquarters in Burslem, near Stoke-on-Trent.

Founder Wayne Walker was also there, and said he was ‘very excited’ to be opening a new store in Chester city centre.

“We already have a very successful store in Burslem where our head office is based; however, thanks to our expansion programme, we also have an equally successful store in Bolton and we are convinced Chester will be just as popular,” he added.

Soap star Steven, who left Coronation Street almost five years ago after his character Ashley was killed off in a fatal tram crash, was sporting a beard that made him almost unrecognisable from his alter-ego, and he suggested his new facial hair wouldn’t have gone down too well with his on-screen business partner ‘Uncle Fred’.

A fan takes a selfie with Coronation Street star Andrew Whyment at the Forum Shopping Centre

However, soap star Andrew, whose character Kirk used to be a trainee butcher in the show, said the experience didn’t make him feel nostalgic for his former on-screen career, admitting to The Chronicle: “We always used fake meat on the TV anyway, so it doesn’t make me miss playing a butcher!”

Wayne Walker’s Quality Meats began 21 years ago as a chilled pre-packed meat sales business, initially serving 17 different local markets across the country. Today they are a rapidly growing business with more than 80 employees.

Forum Shopping Centre Manager Lawrence Allen said: “ As always, the Forum is delighted to be able to welcome a new store to our fold.”