AFTER cutting it at the highest level for decades a respected meat production manager has stepped down from the role.
Following 17 years at Rhug Estate and many more in the trade – including a spell at London’s famous Smithfield Market – Gary Jones has retired from the industry.
He handed over the reins to Chris Esler, who joined the award-winning business, based near Corwen in North Wales, earlier this year.
Gary plans to return to his native Bedfordshire with wife Debbie – who previously worked as a supervisor in the restaurant and delicatessen at Rhug – and thanked Estate owner Lord Newborough and the team for their support.
“It has been a very eventful, fun and rewarding 17 years but the time is right for me to say goodbye, and with Chris set to take over, the meat production side of the operation is in very good hands,” he said.
“We’ve had our challenges of course, notably the pandemic, but there have been so many positives and I’m proud to have played my part in developing this side of the business, notably when we opened up to the international export markets.”
Gary added: “Debbie and I have been married for more than 45 years so we are looking forward to a new start and to spending more time with our children and grandchildren.
“I am so thankful to Lord Newborough for the opportunity and wish Chris all the very best for the future, I am sure he will enjoy many happy years here, as we have.”
Rhug Estate is recognised as one of the UK’s leading producers of high-quality meats and was appointed a Royal Warrant of Appointment by the now King Charles III for its care of the countryside and high animal welfare standards.
Its Organic Dee Valley Bronze Turkey was a recipient of the 1* Great Taste Award and voted a ‘best buy’ in The Independent newspaper, as well as being featured on the menu at Michelin-starred venues and leading restaurants globally, from London to Singapore.
Having also moved from the south of England to join Rhug Estate, Chris – whose partner Jessica has taken on the role of purchasing manager at the farm shop – was thrilled to join the internationally-renowned farm estate, having worked in the beef sector for more than 10 years.
A former apprentice with ABP food group, he said: “I’m really enjoying the responsibility and it’s very different to my past roles, there is a lot of scope to use my butchery skills and to take Rhug to the next level.
“It’s a new challenge but I’m looking forward to it and wish Gary all the best in his retirement, he has been hugely encouraging and I thank him for all of his support over past months.”
For more news and information including upcoming events, visit www.rhug.co.uk and follow them on social media @rhugestate.