The future of an Aire Valley cheese-making business has been assured after being bought by a local farming family.

The Yellison Farm Goats Cheese operation has been bought by Sharron and Ed Parker and relocated to their Sire Bank Farm in Bradley, near Skipton.

Yellison was established in 2003 by the late Steve Akrigg and was reluctantly put on the market when he developed a serious illness, from which he died on Christmas Day last year.

His son Jonathan, 24, who was running the business, assisted by his partner Lucy Pollard, are helping the Parkers and familiarising them with all aspects of the operation.

The milking parlour, dairy and cheese production unit have been installed and the Parkers are currently milking 72 goats. They also have a billy goat, around 30 followers and 30 kids on their 40-acre hill farm.

Sharron said: “We are up and running and while it’s still early days and there’s still plenty of work to do we have retained all existing customers and are meeting current order requirements.”

Mrs Parker said she remained keenly aware of Mr Akrigg’s vision in building up a successful award-winning business over ten years, which saw Yellison Farm Goats Cheese develop a national customer base including leading chefs, high profile hotels, restaurants, pubs and other retail and wholesale customers.

She said: “Steve invested so much of his time in both establishing and developing the business. It was a true passion in his life, a real labour of love and one that I am determined to continue and further develop in his memory. I already share much of his passion and enthusiasm.”

The business makes two types of goats cheese and production has increased since the Parkers took over, with milk output currently about 600 litres a week, with two weekly cheese runs producing 180kg of product.

Sharron has plans for development and diversification of the business.

She said: “We are looking to grow the herd naturally and eventually hope to be milking 120-plus goats, producing our own haylage on the farm to feed them. This will allow us to increase both production and capacity and expand our customer base.”