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Tributes paid to hotelier Trevor Forecast, who has died aged 86

17 February 2021 by
Tributes paid to hotelier Trevor Forecast, who has died aged 86

Hotelier Trevor Forecast, former owner of Congham Hall hotel in Norfolk, died suddenly at home on 11 February after a short illness aged 86.

His family described him as "a true gentleman who lived life to the full and bought countless happy memories to so many" in both his personal life and during his time as a hotelier.

Born in 1934, Trevor Cecil Forecast initially started a career as a chartered engineer. He completed a five-year engineering apprenticeship with Hawker Siddeley aircraft company and was marketing manager for the Polymer Corporation. His hotel career started in 1972 when he became proprietor and managing director of the Crown hotel in Downham Market, Norfolk.

In 1982 Trevor and his wife Christine transformed Congham Hall from a private house into a hotel, which they ran until 1999. During this time the hotel received many awards, including the Best Independent Marketing Campaign Catey in 1992. The hotel was sold to Von Essen before current owner Nicholas Dickinson headed up a team of investors to purchase the property in March 2012.

Dickinson said: "I first met the Forecasts in the early 1980s while I was working at Chewton Glen. They were regular visitors as Trevor used to get his Maserati serviced nearby! However, it was not until we purchased Congham from the administrators of the collapsed Von Essen empire that I was to discover what a truly outstanding hotelier Trevor was.

"Trevor and Christine were guests of honour at our relaunch party in 2013 to which we had invited a significant number of the local great and good to see the changes we had effected at the hotel. Trevor stood beside me at the hotel entrance as the visitors began to arrive and took it upon himself to introduce them to me by name. Bearing in mind this was some 15 years after he had retired, it was not only remarkable that he could remember them all, but even more so that they greeted him with such fondness."

Forecast became a Master Innholder in 1991 and was chairman of the association 2000-01. He also sat on numerous committees and was chairman of the British Hospitality Association 1997-9 and of Pride of Britain Hotels 1994-7.

During his retirement he found time to become more involved with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. He and Christine also devoted many hours to fundraising for their family charity Astro Brain Tumour Fund, founded in 2001 in response to their daughter Emma's husband Paul Chamberlain being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

Forecast leaves behind wife Christine; daughters Katie and Emma; and grandchildren Jack, Freddie, Ben and Lexy. Grandson Freddie Sheen was "hugely inspired" by ‘Papa', said the family, and runs pop-up restaurant concept and produce delivery service Rogues London.

Dickinson said: "I have Trevor to thank for persuading me to join the Master Innholders in 2014 and over the ensuing years Trevor and Christine have become fond friends. They would regularly pop in to see us at Congham, chat about how we were doing and Trevor was always genuinely interested in our fortunes as well as keen to offer his advice and perspective on anything and everything hospitality related. Trevor was the consummate hotelier!"

Harry Murray, chairman of Lucknam Park, said: "I am deeply saddened with Trevor's passing, a gentleman and consummate hotelier and a good and loyal friend for more than 30 years. He made an enormous and valuable contribution to the hospitality industry and, like our mutual friend George Goring who passed away last year, was part of a generation of charismatic hoteliers who were passionate about hotelkeeping and the hospitality industry but enjoyed life to the full.

"Trevor will be sadly missed, and my thoughts are with his wife Christine, his daughters Katie and Emma and their family at this sad and difficult time. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to celebrate his life when restrictions are lifted."

Peter Hancock, chief executive of Pride of Britain Hotels, said: "Trevor Forecast was among an illustrious group of former Pride of Britain chairman who I knew, along with his wife Christine, for some 30 years. Like most of their fellow members up until the turn of the century they were very much ‘hands on' owners who had built up a successful business through care and effort at Congham Hall in Norfolk before eventually selling the hotel to Von Essen to allow their well-earned retirement. Trevor also played an active part in the wider industry through his involvement with the BHA and the Master Innholders. He will be affectionately remembered by the trade he loved."

Paul Milsom, managing director of Milsom Hotels, said: "We will all remember him in different ways, but for me he epitomised all that was good in that generation of great hoteliers that stamped their mark on the British country house hotel scene during the last 30 years of the 20th century. Innovative, determined, dedicated and passionate about his business, his team, his customers and our trade, as well as being a huge flag waver for Norfolk, East Anglia and of course Pride of Britain and Master Innholders. He will be greatly missed by the many people whose lives he touched."

Peter Lederer added: "Trevor Forecast was one of his generation's best hoteliers. He was a quiet leader, respected manager and an inspiration to so many. Trevor could always be relied on for thoughtful ideas, wise counsel and a good story. I have many happy memories of times with Trevor and Christine – a wonderful couple, full of warmth, hospitality and humanity. We will miss him."

Donations, if desired, to the family charity Astro Brain Tumour Fund may be made online via www.tfs.co.uk/obituary.

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