Posted: 06/04/2022

Tributes paid to ‘force of nature’ Judy Bell MBE

Tributes have been paid to the popular Yorkshire cheesemaker Judy Bell MBE, founder of Shepherds Purse Cheeses, who passed away last month, aged 71.

Bell was a pharmacist before launching Shepherds Purse in 1988 to diversify the family farm and boost income and ran the famous artisan creamery until 2012 when she handed the reins to daughters Caroline Bell and Katie Matten.

The company said in an official statement: “It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of our founder, the mother of Shepherds Purse, Judy Bell MBE.

“Judy was all things to us at Shepherds Purse, our founder, our colleague and friend. Loving wife to Nigel, proud mum of Caroline, Katie, Justin and the late Jonathan, and a devoted and proud grandmother. A true force of nature.”

Bell won many accolades during her time as a cheesemaker – and as an advocate for independent business and Yorkshire food & drink – including World Cheese Awards Super Golds and most recently The Guild of Fine Food Lifetime Achievement Award at last year’s Great Taste.

MD of the Guild John Farrand said: “Judy Bell has been a wonderful constant in my food and drink consciousness all my adult life.

“It is a mark of her generous soul that she spent as much time helping others get on in our trade as she did with her own family business.

“Judy blazed a trail for women, not just in cheese but in speciality food & drink generally.”

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