One of the most influential figures in Scottish business and a driving force behind Moray’s most famous business empire, Ena Baxter, has died at the age of 90.
Over a period of 50 years Mrs Baxter and her late husband Gordon built the Fochabers-based business from being a small cottage industry to its current status as an internationally acclaimed food group.
Brought up in Huntly, Ena Baxter was a graduate of Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. After working for the Ministry of Food in Aberdeen she moved to Fochabers to take up a teaching course – and it was there she met and married Gordon Baxter.
It was in Ena’s experimental kitchen that many of the classic soups, sauces and jams that were to become world-famous were developed. Along with her husband and brother-in-law Ian Baxter the company grew – and with that so did their fortune, with Ena becoming a permanent fixture on the list of the wealthiest women in the UK.
Since 1992 Baxters have been run by Ena and Gordon’s daughter Audrey. A spokesman for the company said last night: “The Baxter family confirm with great sadness that Mrs Ena Baxter passed away on Thursday, January 15. The family respectfully requests privacy at this difficult time.”
Tributes were being paid last night to Mrs Baxter, led by Moray’s MP Angus Robertson who said: “I was very sorry to learn of Ena Baxter’s death, who has been an huge figure for both Moray and far beyond, having been an iconic face of the Baxters business for many years. My condolences go to her family and friends.”
His Holyrood colleague, Richard Lochhead MSP added: “I am very sad to hear of the death of Ena Baxter and my thoughts are with her family and friends.
“The business success of Ena and her family in Moray has been and continues to be of great importance both in terms of employment and in the promotion of Moray and its communities to the world.
“Ena Baxter was an integral part of that and her contribution to Moray life over many years has been very significant.”
Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillors also paid their tributes, with Sean Morton saying: “Ena Baxter, with her husband, transformed Baxters into the booming family business we in Moray know and love.
“In doing so she truly helped put our little village of Fochabers on the map and on the world stage. I offer my sympathy to all who knew and worked with her throughout her remarkable life and my sincere condolences to her loved ones.”
Councillor Margo Howe added: “Ena Baxter has contributed an enormous amount to the Moray area with a long, productive and influential life.
“My thoughts go out to her family with this sad loss of a loved one.”