Customers stick with true artisan from Helmsley

Helmsley-based Keith Pickering, known as the Stick Man, is celebrating 18 years in business.
Helmsley-based Keith Pickering, known as the Stick Man, is celebrating 18 years in business.

A Helmsley-based businessman is celebrating a major landmark after giving it some stick over the past 18 years.

Keith Pickering is celebrating 18 years as the famous Stick Man, having become one of the country’s biggest suppliers of stickmaking materials and tools.

Mr Pickering made the famous magical stick held by Emma Thompson’s Nanny McPhee, he’s provided walking sticks for stars, sportspeople and royalty, and even created a staff for the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The concern is a real family affair – Keith’s wife Jacky joined him in the business after a couple of years. He now collaborates with several trusted stickmakers who work from their own premises to supply sticks for the shop.

Keith said: “If I’m being honest, I didn’t think we’d still be here 18 years on! I thought interest from the public might dwindle after a few years – but, actually, the exact opposite happened! Stickmaking as a hobby is more popular than ever and not just in the UK.

“I’ll be 60 at the end of next year and I hope to be able to slow down a bit. Arthritis in my hands is making carving more difficult for me so, much as I love it, it will have to take up less of my time going forward.

“But with business continuing to go from strength to strength, I won’t be sitting still, that’s for sure!”