Tom Warburton, a former co-chairman of Warburtons Bakery, has died after a long standing illness.

The 83-year-old is the father of the current executive director Ross Warburton, and the third member of the fourth generation of the Warburton family to pass away this year, following the deaths of his cousins, Derrick and George.

The firm has paid tribute to his “entrepreneurial spirit” as well as his commitment to the community, including 30 years as a magistrate.

In a statement, the company said: “It is with great sadness that Ross and the Warburton family can confirm that Tom Warburton, from the fourth generation of the family baking business, passed away peacefully on September 21.

“Tom, along with his cousins Derrick and George, who both passed away earlier this year, and his cousin Henry, played a key role within the family business as co-chairman during the 1970s and 80s until the fourth generation jointly retired in 1988.

“His entrepreneurial spirit and drive helped lay the foundations for the existing bread business, then based solely in Lancashire, as well as leading the business in many new directions on both sides of the Atlantic.

“In addition to being a leading figure within the family firm Tom had many other interests and was a proud and prominent member of the local community in Bolton.”

Tom, who leaves behind his wife Joyce, was a Justice of the Peace for 30 years, chairman of the first Coronary Care Appeal for the now-named Royal Bolton Hospital and was on the founding Board of Trustees at the Octagon Theatre and the Bolton Health Trust.