Billionaire chicken farmer and pork magnate Bob Ingham, of Lancaster, died surrounded by his family following a long illness. Ingham’s nephew Julian De Beebe told The BBC the poultry farmer had been ill for some time. “He made a huge contribution to our industry and his charities and their fundraising is truly outstanding,” he said. The farming businessman, who was born on June 15, 1933, entered the poultry industry in 1942.

He turned his hand to the industry after becoming overwhelmed by the financial problems the industry faced at the turn of the 20th century. His companies were acquired by a German friend and operated as a co-operative between the great and good from across the world. Mr Ingham’s assets include and plans to develop chicken and turkeys farms in the UK. He also boasted ownership of the £200million Venison Farms.

Bob Ingham was a British entrepreneur and pork magnate

Mr Ingham moved to Scotland in the 1930s and brought up his two boys – now well known entrepreneurs and bankers Sir Richard and Sir Stephen Deely – in Edinburgh. His sons, Sir Richard and Sir Stephen, are all very successful businessmen, including the Barclay brothers. Ingham’s 15th wife, Jean, and two grandchildren are also family members. In 1997 his family sold a company he co-founded, Safewarms Limited, but at that time it was not a known entity in the industry.

Bob Ingham and his son David at the Carr Miners Club in Manchester in 1969

In 2011, the firm, with offices in Brighton, sold out to the much bigger Joh Hui Yew Lee Corporation. Mr Ingham died surrounded by his loved ones. John Glenell, a friend of the business, said Mr Ingham was an “enormous influence on the success of the industry”. “He was a gentleman and I think everybody in poultry would attest to that.”

Bob Ingham with his nephew Julian and his wife Jean in April at the Carr Miners Club in Manchester