Video: £53m lottery winner to carry on chicken farming

Poultry consultant Richard Maxwell, who hit the headlines with a £53m EuroMillions win on 1 April, says he plans to carry on chicken farming, despite becoming the 10th richest ever lottery winner.

Speaking to Poultry World, Mr Maxwell explained that, as well as working as a consultant for turkey producer Bernard Matthews two days a week, in recent years he had been involved in his own turkey and broiler farming operations.

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“I don’t want to say too much about it, but I certainly plan to carry on developing that side of my business and am looking to enlarge it,” he said.

“It is something I feel comfortable with, and I like the people I deal with in the poultry sector. It will give me something to keep me grounded and keep me busy, but now without too much stress.”

Mr Maxwell, 67, has been involved in the poultry sector since the age of 15, having started in 1963 at Boston Frozen Food – part of the Ross Group – before becoming a farm manager at the age of 19.

Two years later he was made an area manager in the Hartlepool area for Buxted Poultry, which then became part of Hillsdown Holding in the 1970s. “I was the area manager for Lincolnshire, when the operation converted to turkey production.”

The company was then sold to Unigate, and then on to Bernard Matthews.

From there, Mr Maxwell moved to become general manager for the north of England and the midlands for the Moorlands/Sun Valley turkey business, out of which Cranberry Turkeys emerged.

Changing times

“I have witnessed a huge amount of change in my time in the poultry sector, starting in the early days of broiler production and seeing the transition to large-scale turkey production.”

His career was brought to a premature halt in 2007 when he developed prostate cancer. But he recovered from that and then set up his own consultancy business, doing four days a week for clients including Lincs Turkeys and Bernard Matthews.

“As they were taking on more contract growers, especially free range, I was helping to run those farms and embed them into the production system.”

Reflecting on his time in the poultry sector, Mr Maxwell said there had been times when he was critical, especially of some of the big companies that had come in to extract profit from the factories, without reinvesting in the farming side.

“Fortunately that has now changed and the sector has come on a lot in recent years.”

Future plans

While intending to maintain his links with the poultry sector, Mr Maxwell said he was keen to carry on with his charity work – he and his wife Angela are both Rotarians – and to stay involved with his local community in Coningsby, Lincolnshire.

“Our local community is really important to us, in particular helping young people in the area.

“We will also look to do more travelling – only this time we will probably turn left, rather than right, when we get on the plane.”

He is also planning on buying a new Range Rover. Mr Maxwell added that he was an avid reader of Poultry World, collecting his issue every month from his local newsagent.