Shropshire Blue cheese creator Dennis Biggins dies aged 89
Tributes have been paid to the man who became the brains behind Shropshire Blue cheese.
Dennis Biggins, 89, had a long and distinguished career as a cheese maker in Whitchurch for almost 70 years. He died on October 17 after a short illness.
Mr Biggins had only recently retired from S Biggins Ltd, the family business that today supplies one of the largest selections of British cheese to retailers and farm shops across the region from its base at Waymills Industrial Estate.
Based originally in Alkington Road, S Biggins Ltd was started by Mr Biggins' father, Sam, in the 1920s and became one of the original agents for Farmhouse Cheshire Cheese. Throughout the 1950s the Biggins family also worked in close association with Geoffrey Hutchinson in the production and selling of Blue Cheshire cheese.
Mr Biggins acquired two more companies, Westry Roberts & Co, a cheese factor in Chester, and cheese retailer J H Warham, of Nantwich, with 12 retail outlets and more than 40 staff, in the 1970s. Both companies were brought back to Whitchurch and located side-by-side at a new warehouse in the Tithe Barn, London Road.
But developing Shropshire Blue in the mid-1970s was the pinnacle of his career, according to his family, which became the first new British Blue cheese to be produced for centuries.
Mr Biggins' son, Tom, who now runs Westry Roberts & Co, paid tribute to his father, who also leaves behind wife Susan, and daughter Katie, both of whom help to run the business.
He said: "He was recognised as a leading authority on cheese and frequently judged at the Dairy Show in London, as well as the Cheshire and Nantwich shows over several decades.
"My father's knowledge of cheese generally and Cheshire cheese in particular was outstanding. He was also a gentleman in every sense of the word."
A service of thanksgiving will be held at St John's Methodist Church, on Friday, at 2pm.