Tributes have been paid to an award-winning Yorkshire cheese maker who was found dead in a neighbour’s garden the day after a night out with relatives.
Police are investigating the death of businesswoman Mandy Reed, 47, who ran the Swaledale Cheese Company for 25 years.
Her body was found in a garden near her flat in Grammar School Court in the village of Scorton, near Richmond, at about 5pm on Sunday.
She was last seen by her son Sam the night before, taking a taxi after an evening with family.
Mrs Reed ran the company with her husband David from 1987 until he died suddenly at 46 following a heart attack in 2005, after which she continued as managing director.
The firm won four medals at last year’s British Cheese Awards.
The chairman of regional tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, Gary Verity, said Mrs Reed was a “lovely lady”.
He said: “She was a familiar sight, certainly at Leyburn market on a Friday, and she was known as ‘the cheese lady’. That was the slogan on her stall.
“She was part of the furniture really, and she will be sadly missed.”
Richmondshire Council leader John Blackie said: “It is very, very sad news. Mandy and her husband were a hugely enterprising couple.
“They set up the Swaledale Cheese Company from small beginnings and built it up into a really good local company.”
Martin Bearpack, a former Swaledale councillor, said: “I knew Mandy and her husband David well.
“They kept the name of Swaledale cheese alive, which is very good.”
Detective Chief Inspector Keith Ruff, of North Yorkshire Police, said Mrs Reed’s death was being treated as “unexplained”.