THE former chairman of Hoburne holiday parks has died at the age of 88.

Tributes have been paid to John Burry, a former New Milton schoolboy, who went on to become chairman and non-executive director of the popular company.

John first child of Alec and Phyllis Burry, then living at Staggs Farm, Beckley. In his early years, John was a pupil at Speedwell School in New Milton.

On leaving school, he became articled to Jackson Stops and Staff, where he began to work towards qualifying as a chartered surveyor.

In 1959, Bashley Lodge in the New Forest was put up for auction. At that time, the family business, which would blossom into being the Hoburne Group, comprised of Hoburne and Naish Farms, along with another small caravan park, called Parkland, which between them were already welcoming holiday home owners, holidaymakers, and touring caravanners.

The sale took place at the estate on July 17 and consisted of the Lodge House, an entrance lodge, a cottage, and a garage block, along with 115 acres. Alec and John who was then then aged 28, attended the sale, and together they secured the bid for £20,500.

Alec initially had doubts about the viability of a caravan park at Bashley and felt that visitors would want to be closer to the sea. However, John saw the opportunity to make the innovative move which would provide mains drainage, water and electricity for every unit.

John and his father begun to grow the small family business, and they were taking the holiday parks to new levels. Following Alec’s sudden death in 1964, John took over the reins of the business aged 33.

John set about putting Hoburne’s three parks at the top of the market as superior quality destinations in an era when the popularity of caravans was booming.

John was chairman of the Hoburne Group for 38 years, during which time, he not only grew the holiday park business, but he presided over the continuing success of the property and development arm as well. Golf courses were acquired, and hundreds of houses were built under the Hoburne Development brand. Industrial and retail units, along with offices, were also constructed.

John took on several distinguished roles. He was chairman of the National Caravan Council during the 70s, where he played a key part in the fight to improve standards in services within the industry. He served as Official Verderer of the New Forest from 1993 to 1999 for which he was awarded an MBE and in December 1994, he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire. He was also involved for many years with the New Forest Show Society, becoming chairman and later enjoying the role of joint President with his wife, Angela.

John grew the holiday business by acquiring a further six stunning holiday park locations, but he presided over the continuing success of Hoburne Development until he passed the baton of chairman to his daughter, Rosie Kennar, in 2002.

In 2002, John founded the New Forest Livestock Society and was a tireless campaigner for improvement to the welfare of animals roaming the forest. He also helped to found the New Forest Trust in 2003 and was a long-term member of the New Milton Rotary Club, being awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship for his 47 years of service.

His support for numerous organisations, charities, and individuals, extended beyond practical input where his expertise and wisdom were always highly valued. Through the Burry Charitable Trust, donations totalling around £1.3/4 million to date have been made to numerous organisations, and these were often given anonymously because John found it embarrassing to be thanked.

John died on November 16, leaving four daughters, two step-daughters and one step-son.