Tributes to top Ribble Valley cheese man Bob Kitching

Bob Kitching of Leagram Dairy, Chipping
Bob Kitching of Leagram Dairy, Chipping

an award-winning cheese maker has died aged 61 after his second battle with cancer.

Bob Kitching, who founded Leagram Organic Dairy in Chipping in 2000, died on Tuesday, February 26th, after a three-year battle with thymic cancer, which causes tumours in the thymus gland and the chest.

His daughter, Faye, who has worked in the business for 10 years, said she will carry on his legacy.

She said: “Cheese was his obsession.

“He managed to do what a lot of people want by making his passion his job.

“He was a showman and loved giving presentations. He wanted to get everybody to love cheese - not just Leagrams, but other local produce.”

Mr Kitching, who grew up in Hurst Green, began his career as a butcher, but later swapped his attention to cheese.

Faye added: “He worked in several dairies, starting at the bottom and working his way up.

“He was very well respected in the dairy circles and got to a point where he decided that he would like to work for himself.

“He was really creative and was always coming up with new ideas and new recipes.”

Mr Kitching won Best Lancashire Cheese in the Royal Lancashire Show in 2001, and he was awarded Lancashire Life’s Food Hero of the Year 2010.

Mr Kitching even inspired former Coronation Street actor Sean Wilson to set up his own cheese business after the star approached him to hire floor space.

Mr Kitchen survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 11.

After a regular check up at Christies Hospital three years ago, he was diagnosed with thymic cancer, and after an operation to remove the tumour, he went into remission last February.

However, in June 2012 he began to deteriorate once more.

His funeral takes place at 4 p.m. today (Friday March 8th) at Our Lady and St Michael, Alston Lane, Longridge.