Turkey tycoon Bernard Matthews has died at the age of 80, his firm said.
The farmer and businessman – best known for his “bootiful” catchphrase – made a multi-million pound fortune through his vast poultry company and is widely credited with bringing cheap turkey meat to the masses.
In a statement on his company’s website, chief executive Noel Bartram 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.”
The Bernard Matthews empire began with a humble £2.50p investment in 1950 with 12 turkey eggs and an incubator in the heart of Norfolk. It grew into the biggest turkey processor in Europe.
Paying tribute to the man behind the controversial Turkey Twizzler, Mr Bartram said: “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.”
He added: “He is the man who effectively put turkey on the plates of everyday working families and in so doing became one of the largest employers in rural East Anglia and a major supporter of the local farming community.”
Matthews, the son of a mechanic, from Brooke in Norfolk, left school at 16 and went on to become a household name.
“In latter years he devoted himself to a host of charitable causes, often in an unsung manner”, Mr Bartram said.
These included the independent Caister Lifeboat and the Nelson Museum in Great Yarmouth – a nod to his home county and love of the sea.