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The meat industry stalwart worked in the sector more more than four decades in a variety of roles

Tributes have been paid to meat industry veteran and former ABP MD Richard Cracknell, who recently passed away.

Born in 1942, Cracknell started out as an apprentice in the late 1950’s with J Lyons & Co, before spending more than four decades working across the meat sector in a variety of roles.

He became MD of ABP in 1986 – steering the business through major industry crises including BSE and two foot and mouth epidemics – and later became a non-executive director of the business. He stepped down as MD of ABP in 2009.

Among a host of industry positions throughout his career, Cracknell served as a commissioner of the Meat and Livestock Commission and as president of the British Meat Processors Association.

Cracknell was also heavily involved in meat sector associations, organisations and initiatives, from the Worshipful Company of Butchers, through to the Butchers’ and Drovers’ Charitable Institution (BDCI) to name just a few.

He was the father of fellow meat sector stalwart Andrew Cracknell, who most recently worked as CEO of pork supplier Tulip and its successor Pilgrim’s UK.

Richard Cracknell was described as “a giant of a figure within the UK meat industry, known and loved by many”, by Ed Bedington, the former editor of The Grocer’s sister publication Meat Trades Journal.

“Despite his status and stature within the sector, Richard was always a fun and accessible figure,” he added, and one who – despite working in a highly competitive sector – forged “exceptional bonds across the industry, bringing people together for the good of the industry”.

This continued even in retirement, Bedington added. “He continued to stay involved and a vital part of that mix.”

A spokesman for ABP said Cracknell would be “sadly missed by his many friends and former colleagues across the company”.

BMPA CEO Nick Allen described Cracknell as “a great supporter of the organisation whoe did a great deal of work on behalf of the industry”.

Those that knew him would “have many fond memories, he was a great character and will be truly missed, our sincerest condolences go out to his family and all those close to him”, Allen added.