A POPULAR and well-known solicitor has stepped down from his role at the helm of one of Basingstoke’s oldest legal firms.

After working for what is now QualitySolicitors Clarke & Son for more than 42 years, Peter Turner has handed over the reins as senior partner to colleague Charles Marchant-White.

And to mark the end of an era, last week a retirement party was held at Audleys Wood Hotel, in Basingstoke, where close to 200 members of the legal and business community turned out to give the 67-year-old a super send-off.

Describing the gathering as more than just a retirement party, but one of recognising Peter’s achievements, Charles said: “He has a high reputation with professionals in and around Basingstoke and amongst clients. Peter has made Clarke & Son what it is today.”

Joking that “Peter insisted that he had a right of reply,” Charles passed the microphone to the guest of honour, who explained that he retired from being a partner at the end of March, and is now a part-time consultant at the firm.

“It’s time for the next generation to do their bit,” said Peter, who joined Clarke & Son in October 1971 after being encouraged by the firm’s then senior partner John Clarke to move from London to Basingstoke.

Commenting on the qualities required of being a good solicitor, Peter said: “The job is about understanding people, how to deal with them and being a good listener.”

At the party, Peter recounted some amusing incidents from his career.

He said that his best memories will be of the people and the clients he has acted for, many of whom were present at the party.

He told the guests: “It’s your loyalty with Clarke & Son that has been most satisfying, and it is my earnest hope that this will continue into the future and that the ethos of the firm will continue in the same way.

“ Basingstoke has been known for its open and friendly relationship among professionals and it has made it so much easier for all of us to do our jobs.”

As well as thanking his colleagues at the firm, based in Winchester Road, Peter also paid tribute to his wife Jane.

He said: “She has always been there with love and support.”