One of the most well-respected figures in the Northern Ireland baking industry has retired after 37 years. Mervyn Hempton, operations manager at Allied Bakeries Ireland, worked hard to build the Belfast-based company with his younger brother, Alan.

He joined the Sunblest bakery in 1971 and became chief executive of Allied Bakeries Belfast, as the firm was then called, in 1986, with added responsibility for AB-owned Reid’s bakery, Coleraine.

Paying tribute to his brother, Alan Hempton said: "He’s been a tremendous servant to Allied Bakeries and has always been a great sounding board for me. It is a tremendous tribute to his dedication and determination that he did so much for the bakery during the latter years of his career."