TRIBUTES have been paid to an “inspirational” Hampshire businessman who led one of the biggest leisure firms in the south.

John Burry, who has died aged 88, was the former chairman of the Hoburne Group, which runs holiday parks in Hampshire and neighbouring counties.

He was also well-known in the New Forest, where he was head of the Verderers for six years.

Mr Burry, a former Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, was joint president of the New Forest Show in 1990 and founded the New Forest Livestock Society in 2002.

New Forest Post:

Hoburne’s managing director, Rod Tucker, said: “John was an inspiration to everyone at Hoburne and the wider tourism industry.

“The Hoburne Group was a huge part of his life and he was respected enormously within the local community. His contribution to the growth and success of the business is immeasurable.

“He embodied the brand values and we will continue to uphold those values to ensure Hoburne’s continued success and honour John’s memory.

“John will be missed by his family, his Hoburne family, and all whose lives he touched. He will always live on as the driving force behind Hoburne’s success.”

Organisers of the Hampshire County and New Forest Show are also mourning Mr Burry's death.

The show's chief executive, Denis Dooley, said: "Everyone at the New Forest Agricultural Show Society were saddened to hear of the death of our former chairman and president John Burry. "John was a stalwart of the Society who was instrumental for so many years.

"His dedication, leadership and accuracy to detail were second to none and he will be deeply missed by all involved.

"It is safe to say that without John’s guidance we would certainly not be the Society we are now and we will be forever indebted to his forward thinking.

"Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his family at this difficult time."

New Forest Post:

Mr Burry was the grandson of John Burry Snr, who founded Hoburne when he bought Hubborn Farm in Highcliffe in 1912. Eight years later he purchased Naish Farm at Barton on Sea after plans to build an aerodrome on the site fell through.

Mr Burry Snr died in 1947.

His son Alec was determined to build on his father’s legacy. In 1959 Alec and his son John - who died last Saturday - set out to buy the 115-acre Bashley Lodge site in New Milton.

Their spending limit was £20,000 but they managed to find the other £500 needed to clinch the deal, which resulted in Bashley Lodge becoming Hoburne’s third holiday park.

Mr Burry was appointed Official Verderer of the New Forest in the early 1990s.

His role involved chairing the Court of Verderers, a monthly forum which enables members of the public, including the owners of the Forest’s free-roaming animals, to raise issues relating to the management of the area.

Shortly after stepping down in 1999 he was made an MBE for services to the community.