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Korkers Sausages founder and former Ashford mayor Jim Hoad dies

By Rachael Woods

The hard-working founder of a family firm of sausage makers has died at the age of 85.

Jim Hoad, who was also twice mayor of Ashford, opened a small butcher’s shop in Rolvenden in 1959, after first learning his trade at Sainsbury’s in the early 1950s.

It was in the shop, known as Korkers Sausages, that he developed his now-famous recipe for the Korker sausage, which remains a closely-guarded family secret to this day.

Jim Hoad pictured in 2002
Jim Hoad pictured in 2002

It proved so popular that Mr Hoad devoted all his energies into production of the sausage, closing the shop he first rented and later bought in 1961, before opening a factory in the village, where the much-loved banger is still produced.

Growing demand for the sausage saw him build a new factory in Rolvenden in 1981. His family, including wife Janet, who he married in 1956 and who was also mayoress of Ashford, all played a part in the firm’s success.

Son Robert started work in the new factory as a teenager and remains there today, while Edward began in the business in 1985 and was joined by Julie in 1989.

Mr Hoad’s drive and dedication saw the firm flourish and today Korkers Sausages has a turnover of £2m and employs more than 20 members of staff.

Jim Hoad pictured outside his Rolvenden shop in the 1970s
Jim Hoad pictured outside his Rolvenden shop in the 1970s

Fiercely patriotic and opinionated, he was known for being forthright with his views but cared deeply about his community, ensuring he gave jobs at Korkers to local people and serving twice as mayor of Ashford.

His passion for work meant he had little time for hobbies but he liked cricket and became a member of Rolvenden cricket club.

Jim was also enjoyed a drink at The Bull Inn and Ewe and Lamb pubs in Rolvenden.

He retired in 2015, leaving Korkers Sausages, which marks its 60th anniversary in 2019, in the hands of his children and grandchildren.

Jim had served as the member for Rolvenden (including Newenden), from 1983 to 2003, prior to becoming mayor of Ashford from in 1994/95 and 2000/01.

Described by Ashford Borough Council as “a very active councillor throughout his 20-year service for the local authority", he served on numerous working groups and committees and from 1999 to 2000 was chairman of Ashford’s economic development and commerce committee.

Ill health in later life meant Jim moved to Halden Heights care home in September 2017, where he died on Saturday, February 2.

Jim Hoad’s funeral will be held at Rolvenden parish church on Friday, February 15 at 2pm.

Family flowers only and for enquires contact funeral director Fuggles on 01580 763340.

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