AN ASHBOURNE accountant is retiring after almost 30 years managing the finances of local farmers and small businesses.
Harry Bourchier, 63, from Stanton, has been a director at Coates and Partners, in St John Street, since 1987. He joined the firm in February 1985.
Harry said: "I've always had an affinity with the area. I was born in Stanton in the Peak, and went to school at Lady Manners in Bakewell.
"After studying at Liverpool University I returned to Bakewell to qualify with Pannell, Kerr and Forster for five years, before moving to Sheffield with local firm Hebblethwaite.
"After that was a two-year stint with Deloittes in Leeds. I left Deloittes to become self-employed for a couple of years, when I spotted an advert for Coates and Partners. I was intrigued to see what they were offering, and the rest is, as they say, history."
"I've had a wonderful career with the practice, and met some lovely clients – many of whom I am happy to count as friends now."
He recalled how he was once invited to a client's golden wedding party on the other side of Stafford.
"I only planned to go along and show my face to be sociable, but when I walked in I realised that almost everyone there was a client of ours. It made me realise just how small and closely linked the farming community is around here," he said.
"Needless to say, I was there for the entire party – and most enjoyable it was too."
Harry was married to Daf in April 1979 and the couple have three children. Fran, 30, is an actuary and will be getting married later this year. Michelle, 28, recently qualified as an accountant and was married last summer. Son Tom, 24, is working as an environmental instructor for an outward bound centre in Norfolk.
Harry said: "I couldn't have retired any earlier – I had to pay for two weddings – but now I have I am looking forward to doing nothing for a while. Well, I say nothing – but there is the garden to sort out, seedlings to be planted, tomatoes to tend… I doubt I will be bored."
His colleagues at Coates presented Harry with retirement gifts at a farewell lunch held in the Lamplight restaurant. He said: "I was given some vouchers from the partners, which was really kind, and Daf and I have already spent those on a new TV and Blu-ray.
"The staff got me two beautiful paintings from The Gallery, one of a Highland cow, and one of a Friesian. I've had them both framed and put up in prominent locations at home. They were painted by Wendy Draper and really are stunning."
Harry was also a community first responder for the Ellastone and Mayfield group for eight years, before a shoulder injury forced him to stand down, but he continues his involvement with the group as its vice-president.