Industry mourns Cheale Meats founder

The industry is mourning the death of a leading industry butcher, wholesaler and exporter of beef and pork.

Andrew Cheale, who died on Friday aged 77, was an Essex lad who left school to farm and become a wholesale butcher and a leading exporter of pork and beef.

With the support of his family, he built the present-day Cheale Meats which is an essential part of the British pig industry, due to its expertise in the collection, slaughter and export of cull sows.

Andrew took his early inspiration from his grandfather, who grew vegetables commercially on two farms on the outskirts of London and dealt in hay and straw, also keeping a few pigs.

Andrew would spend time on the farm and his grandfather gave him two pigs, which he took home and made a pen for, said brother Joe Cheale. Then he built proper sties and gradually increased the number of pigs he kept, while collecting feed from local people.

He also kept chickens and rabbits and, during the immediate post-war years when rationing was still in force, he would sell eggs, poultry and rabbit meat on his milk round.

It was after a local butcher asked him to supply some pigs on rationing decontrol that Cheale Meats started to grow. He would buy animals at local livestock markets, have them slaughtered at a number of local abattoirs, and sell the carcases to local butchers and then to Smithfield Market.

In 1965 he gained planning permission to build the abattoir on land at Orchard Farm in Essex, always taking care to be financially prudent, something he inherited from his father, a collector of taxes.

Pig producers across the country continue to benefit from the hard work and entrepreneurial flair of Andrew Cheale, and his brothers and sister, and now from a second generation of Cheales.

The funeral will be at Herongate Wood Cemetery, Brentwood CM13 3SE, on 26 June at 2pm. Donations to Age Concern and the Pick’s Disease Support Group are welcome; flowers from family members only.