A long-serving senior partner of a Norfolk auctioneers has died at the aged of 94. 

Peter Smith began working at Thomas William Gaze and Son in 1956 and would become its senior partner before retiring after 36 years with the business. 

Born in 1929 in Bradford, West Yorkshire, he was educated during the Second World War at Bradford Grammer School. 

He moved to Diss to join the late John Gaze at TW Gaze and Son in 1956.

Before this, he completed his National Service and flying training with the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. He also obtained a qualification as an agricultural auctioneer and valuer.

Following John Gaze’s retirement in the mid-1960s, Mr Smith was at the helm of the firm when it faced significant changes as agriculture evolved and Diss expanded. 

As well as general rural and valuation work, he developed a strong practice around farm tenancy advice.

He became known for being “firm but fair” in his tenacious approach to rent negotiations, not shying away from taking disputes to arbitration.  

Norwich Evening News: Peter Smith

Mr Smith continued as senior partner until his retirement in 1992, leaving Patrick Nicholls, Alan Smith, and Jeffrey Bowles as the continuing partners of the firm. 

In the early part of his retirement, he spent time travelling round East Anglia for the RICS, tutoring and mentoring young rural surveyors.  

He was also a past president of the Norfolk Association of Agricultural Valuers, an early member of Diss RFC, a councillor on the old Urban District Council, and a member of Diss Round Table.  

In his personal life, he revived and renovated Eaton Lodge in Diss with his late wife, Liz.

During their retirement, they played golf and enjoyed mid-winter sojourns to Portugal for many years. 

After a move to Eaton, near Norwich, they finally settled in the Suffolk village of Coney Weston.

In his later years, Mr Smith continued to travel visiting his brother in Australia and South Africa. 

He died peacefully on March 30.

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