The founder of a multimillion pound food service business in Emmer Green has died.

Robyn Jones, OBE, oversaw the merger of the Kiln Road business CH&Co with Host Catermasters Group with husband and CEO Tim earlier this year leading to a business with a 4,500-strong team delivering services to more than 400 operations across the UK and Ireland.

Mrs Jones set up Charlton House for the hospitality industry in 1991 and turned the bedroom operation into a company with a £120 million turnover.

A spokesman for CH&Co, Andrew Merrett, said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Robyn Jones OBE, founder of CH&Co, after a long illness. 

"Until very recently and despite her ill health, Robyn continued to be actively involved in many aspects of the company and the wider industry.  Her loss will be felt by many people in CH&Co, the hospitality industry, and the wider business community."

"Robyn founded Charlton House, as it was then called, in 1991.

"In the following years, she and her husband Tim, who joined as chairman in 2000. This year, Robyn and Tim merged their company with Host Catermasters retaining the CH&Co name, with Tim becoming Chairman of the new company and Robyn remaining as Founder.

"Robyn won a host of personal accolades throughout her career including a Catey; in 2011, she was appointed OBE in HM Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.  She took an active role in many charities and industry organisations."

Bill Toner, Chief Executive of CH&Co Group, said: “Robyn was truly indomitable, never letting anything get in her way.  Not only did she develop a wonderful company that was well-known for its exacting food, standards and service, she developed a skilled team who have all gained significantly from her leadership.  She will be hugely missed.”

Caroline Fry, Deputy Group CEO, who worked with Robyn for 21 years, added, “Robyn was an inspiring woman to work for.  Her vision, determination, style and guidance helped me and many others develop our careers in more ways than we could have imagined.  She was always a firm believer in the abilities of her people and her legacy continues in CH&Co Group.  We will miss her enormously.”

Robyn died on Tuesday and is survived by her husband Tim, and their children, Tabitha and Blake.