Industry veteran and former Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire Tony Worth has passed away aged 77.
Worth was primarily known to the fresh produce industry through his family business AH Worth, which owns subsidiaries and shares in JVs including QV Foods and Manor Fresh, and he was also a founder of leading industry training scheme MDS.
Tributes have been offered from across the industry and the county of Lincolnshire, where he was a valued and contributing member of the community. He served as the high sheriff of Lincolnshire from 1990 until 1991, before holding the post of Lord Lieutenant of the county, and he was a former governor at the University of Lincoln.
Current chair of MDS, Christine Tacon, said: “Tony Worth was known for many things, from potato farming to Lord lieutenant of Lincolnshire, but maybe not by many as a founder of MDS, a graduate training scheme for the food and fresh produce industry.
"Both Tony’s sons are MDS alumni and Duncan only recently stood down as a director after many years' service. Tony’s foresight in establishing MDS with two other businesses, who were competitors for the talent they produced, was a model that has endured because it was fit for purpose.
“I will remember him for his gentle, mischievous humour, his encouragement but also as a formidable commercial competitor when we were both supplying packed potatoes to the retailers.
"On behalf of all past, current and future alumni of MDS, I would like to pay tribute to a man of vision and to thank him for his enduring contribution to our industry.”
Technical director at Greenyard Fresh UK, Johnathan Sutton, tweeted that Worth was a “true gentleman”, and offered his thoughts and best wishes to the family.
Chairman of Holbeach Parish Council Martin Howard told Spalding Today that: “Tony was a person of the town of Holbeach who everyone admired because he was right at the forefront of everything that went on in Holbeach. He will be a sad loss to the town of Holbeach and there will never be anyone to take his place.”
A spokesperson for the International Bomber Command Centre, where Worth served as chairman, said: “Tony had a passion for the county and spent much of his life serving the people and institutions based here.
“From working on various boards looking at protecting the area from flooding, to chairing the Cathedral Chapter, being a governor of the University of Lincoln to serving as County President of the Royal British Legion.
“He also served as the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire for nearly a decade having previously been the High Sheriff and Deputy Lieutenant which lead to him being awarded a personal honour from Her Majesty the Queen.
“He will be sorely missed by the many people whose lives he has touched.”