Leigh Webb, of Webb’s Country Foods, who died on Christmas Eve was born in Winchester in 1938.
After National Service he was persuaded to join his father Percy and uncle Charles at the small family poultry business in Winnal, Winchester. The business grew and Leigh developed a means of cooking old hens, stripping the meat and selling it on to baby food manufactures such as Heinz.
As the business expanded an old disused Creamery in Okeford Fitzpaine, Dorset was acquired and converted into a purpose-built poultry processing plant. Continued expansion of the business included the acquisition of factories at Lymington, Corby and Sutton Benger as well as the development of the factory at Chichester.
Although Webbs Country Foods had many of its own farms, integration of the business continued with the development of the Westbury feed mill and the building of Webb’s own hatchery at Ower, near Romsey.
Major customers included Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury, Tesco, Asda and markets in London.
As supermarkets demands increased Leigh became more and more disillusioned with the business, even though it continued to be one of the most successful poultry companies in the UK.
As a result, 3i led an institutional buy out of the company which allowed Leigh, and his wife carol of 58 years, to travel extensively all over the world. Owning properties in New Zealand (as well as a boat) where they escaped the vagaries of the winter English weather, and in the South of France. Many friends enjoyed the hospitality of both Leigh and Carol as they were entertained royally whilst visiting. He was also extremely generous, preferring anonymity, in giving to many charities.