British turkey tycoon Bernard Matthews dies aged 80

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Matthews started producing turkey eggs in 1950

Bernard Matthews, founder of the turkey company of the same name, has died at the age of 80. His death was announced by Noel Bartram, the group chief executive of the company.

Matthews started Bernard Matthews Farms Ltd. in 1950 when he invested in a small number of turkey eggs and a used incubator. Within two years he had turned his production into full time and was producing 3,000 turkey eggs.

Bartram released a statement on Matthews death. He said "It is with a great deal of personal sadness that I confirm Bernard Matthews passed away on the afternoon of the 25th November. I have personally known Bernard Matthews for well over 30 years, and on behalf of myself and my fellow colleagues, I wish to express our great sorrow and extend our thoughts and sympathies to the family." Matthews died on the US holiday of Thanksgiving, also known as "Turkey Day".

He steped down as director in January of this year on his 80th birthday following a few hard years for the company. Chef Jamie Oliver targeted Bernard Matthews Turkey Twizzlers during his healthy eating campaign, and in 2007 a strain of bird flu was found at one of his farms. Following the outbreak sales dropped and staff were cut.