Shropshire-based estate agents Halls has paid tribute to its long-standing chairman and managing director, Peter Willcock.

Mr Willcock stood down from his dual position at Halls in Shrewsbury on September 30 but is continuing to work for the company as a consultant.

He had sold thousands of cattle, millions of sheep and numerous farms and land during his career and the business had not stopped growing under his leadership.

Speaking about his post retirement plans, Mr Willcock said: “I will continue to handle land management work, support the livestock markets in Shrewsbury and Bishops Castle and contribute the best way I can going forward.”

Around 100 employees and invited guests attended the event at the company’s Battlefield headquarters where a specially commissioned portrait of Mr Willcock by Shropshire artist Beverley Fry was presented to him.

Mr Willcock had worked for the regional firm of estate and commercial agents, chartered surveyors, auctioneers and valuers for 38 years. He led the company as chairman and managing director for 26 years.

His successor David Giles paid tribute to his service to the company which began when he joined Hall, Wateridge and Owen in 1979 and became the youngest partner in 1982.

Mr Willcock has also twice led a management buyout of the business, which has retained its strong brand throughout.

Mr Giles thanked Mr Willcock and said he had helped establish Halls as one of three heritage firms in Shrewsbury.

Mr Willcock said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being chairman and managing director of Halls but it’s time for a change and I have always believed in a retirement policy.

“The future for Halls looks great and I anticipate that the business will continue to go from strength to strength because we employ a lot of very good people, but there has to be room for young people to come through with new ideas.