RETAIL pioneer and author David Hughes will lift the lid on the Co-op in a talk this month.

Mr Hughes, 77, rose from shop boy to become the Co-op's chief executive officer and is credited with bringing self-service to the North-East and the first cut prices in Britain.

Last February, he launched his autobiography, A Journey to Remember - published by County Durham Books, the publishing arm of Durham County Council - and has since given 123 talks with proceeds going to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

He will give his 124th talk at Durham's Clayport Library, Millennium Place, Claypath, on Saturday, January 25, at 2pm.

A council spokesman said: "His journey from life in the 1920s to his golden wedding anniversary in 1997 is as much a history of the Co-op as it is his own life story.

"He became Britain's youngest Co-op general manager aged 34 and began a retail revolution in Britain in the late 1950s, changing old fashioned methods of the 1900s to what has now developed into modern hypermarkets and shopping centres."

Tickets for his talk, in the library's meeting room, cost £2 and are available from the library or on 0191-386 4003.