JOHN Martin,the founder of Winchester accounting practice Martin and Company, has died at his home in Stoke Charity aged 92.

John was born in Gloucester but served his articles with his godfather in Worcester.After qualifying as a chartered accountant he went to London to join Cooper Bros and then to Bridport and subsequently Portsmouth.In 1961 he came to Winchester to join Mr APF Rothman and they worked together as Rothman Martin and Co. initially at 1 Jewry Street and subsequently at Avebury House in St Peter Street.

John was passionately interested in farming and he joined the Young Farmers Club in Bishop’s Waltham. He was a member of the local hunt and rode in occasional point to point meetings. He was also a member of the SAS reserve regiment in Portsmouth and it was not uncommon for him to be in the office on a Friday in full combat fatigues prior to a weekend airborne exercise somewhere in Europe.

Farming was changing and farmers had been brought into the same taxation regime as other businesses. The increasing availability of grants administered by the locally-based Ministry of Agriculture increased the requirement for farm record keeping to be improved.

As the concentration of agricultural work increased John set up on his own in 1968 in offices at 69 High Street and subsequently at 60 High Street. In 1978 premises were purchased at 25 St Thomas Street and these have been supplemented by the addition of No 26 and adjoining garages in St Clement Street. As his reputation spread further offices were opened in Salisbury, Weymouth and Bridport.

By the time partial retirement came in 1988 the firm’s staff had increased from five to more than 70 and it was a cause of great pride to him that the present partners have continued the concentration on agricultural work and that the firm is regarded as one of the leading providers of tax and accountancy advice to the farming community.

In retirement John sailed his boat Sea Venturer, kept bees and organised the local shooting syndicate.A packed church at Holy Trinity,Wonston joined Sally and their sons and grandchildren to pay tribute to a special man.