Gerald Milsom OBE, founder of the Pride of Britain Hotels consortium, died last Friday (29 April) in South Africa at the age of 74.
The East Anglian hotelier and restaurateur was enjoying a holiday with his family when he was taken ill with double pneumonia which led to further complications.
He had been in hospitality for 53 years, starting with the renowned Le Talbooth Restaurant in Dedham near Colchester in 1952, followed in 1969 by the hotel Maison Talbooth.
Gerald, joined by his son Paul, went on to form Milsom Hotels, which now owns The Pier at Harwich and Milsoms in Dedham. He was also founder of the East Anglian Tourist Board in 1971 and was awarded the OBE for services to tourism in 1987.
Gerald also established Pride of Britain Hotels in 1982 with 12 members. The group now has 40 privately-owned hotels. Gerald was life-president and Paul is the current chairman.
Peter Hancock, Pride of Britain's chief executive, said: "We are all devastated. Gerald was such a big personality, impossible to ignore, and fiercely proud of his own achievements as a hotelier and restaurateur, proud of his son Paul's success in taking their business forward in recent years, and of the consortium that he founded 23 years ago. He will be hugely missed."
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