Tributes are paid to charismatic property surveyor

John Vail
John Vail
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A POPULAR property surveyor has died, aged 75.

John Vail started his 41-year career when he joined agricultural surveyors Austin & Wyatt in Fareham, where he was an articled clerk learning the trade.

After qualifying he joined Savills in London, before returning to the south coast where he joined his father, Lionel. In 1968 John and Jeremy Lear, who had been articled to Lionel Vail, set up the commercial department of the L S Vail & Son.

Mike Swinburne, who worked for Austin & Wyatt and organised reunions for former articled clerks, said: ‘He was a super bloke.

‘I knew him for many, many years. He was successful because of his personality and his charisma.’

Over the next few years the firm expanded. The commercial department moved to Fareham, and offices were opened in Basingstoke and Southampton.

In 1987 the residential business was sold to the Halifax Building Society and the year after that the commercial department merged with Pearson Williams to form Vail Williams.

Ian Rudland, current chief executive of Vail Williams, said: ‘John Vail had tremendous vision and was instrumental in bringing forward the development of major projects including Solent Business Park, Ocean Village, Port Solent, Gunwharf Quays and Southampton Science Park at Chilworth.

‘John was a man with an immense energy, personality and integrity, a renowned character and visionary in the property industry.

‘It has been a privilege for me to lead Vail Williams but in particular to follow in John’s footsteps, a man I hugely admired and held in great esteem.’