Bernard Matthews, one of the UK’s most famous food industry figures, has died at the age of 80.

He passed away yesterday (25 November) after a long illness. It is believed he had suffered from Alzheimer’s for many years.

Noel Bartram, the group chief executive of turkey processor Bernard Matthews Farms, the company Mr Matthews founded in 1958, said: “It is with a great deal of personal sadness that I confirm Bernard Matthews passed away on the afternoon of the 25th November.

“Rarely has any business been as synonymous with the hard work and values of one man. It was Bernard Matthews who grew and developed this company through his entrepreneurial spirit, and clear focus. From simple beginnings, with an initial investment of just £2.50 sixty years ago, Bernard Matthews was responsible for taking the business from twenty turkey eggs and a second-hand paraffin incubator to a successful and thriving multi million pound company.

In recent years, Mr Matthews became less involved in the day-to-day running of the business and in January this year, on his 80th birthday, he stepped down as group chairman.