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Swaledale cheesemaker is found dead

Mandy Reed, who revived a famous culinary art with her late husband David, was reported missing after a family do during freezing weather at the weekend

The inspirational businesswoman behind one of the north’s great cheese successes has been found dead close to her North Yorkshire home.

Mandy Reed, who was 47, took a taxi after an evening out with family on Saturday, but was reported missing next day from her home in the village of Scorton, near Richmond.

She ran the Swaledale Cheese Company with her husband David from 1987 and continued as managing director after his death aged 46 from a heart attack in 2005. The firm’s distinctive cheeses have won many prizes, most recently including a Super Gold for its Swaledale Blue at the 2011 World Cheese Awards. It took four medals at the British Cheese Awards last year for products including Old Peculier Swaledale, named after the distinctive ‘winter warmer’ beer produced by Theakston’s brewery in Masham.

Its success has been part of a vigorous fightback by local cheeses against ‘bland brand’ varieties, with the celebrated Wensleydale creamery at Hawes also enjoying a revival. Wensleydale and Swaledale run side by side on the Yorkshire flank of the north Pennines and vie with one another for beauty as well as cheese.

Mandy Reed’s body was found at 5pm on Sunday in the garden next to her own at Scorton, a village which gave its name to the Scorton Arrow, awarded annually since 1673 to Yorkshire’s best archer. She lived with her daughter Louise, commuting daily to the firm’s creamery in Richmond.

She was last seen by her son Sam, when she got into a red Skoda Octavia taxi after the eve out and would have been dropped off at home around 10.30 to 11pm. She was wearing black leggings, a red dress and a green coat.

Det Chief Insp Keith Ruff of North Yorkshire police said:

An initial post-mortem examination has been completed and the death is currently being treated as unexplained. Officers are carrying out a search of the area and conducting inquiries to establish the circumstances and cause of death.

Louise and Sam Reed also work for the firm which their parents started after a long friendship with Swaledale’s last farm cheesemakers, the Longstaffs of Harkerside near Reeth. Mrs Longstaff became chief taster to the fledgling company after her husband’s death. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds