The new chairman of Halls, the regional firm of estate agents, chartered surveyors, auctioneers and valuers with branches all over north Shropshire, is proud to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Allen Gittins takes up the post of chairman and managing director, which his late father, Tom, held for over 20 years, following the retirement of Peter Willcock, who will be become a consultant.

Mr Gittins believes he has some very big shoes to fill and he paid tribute to Peter for his work.

“I personally have a lot to thank Peter for because I worked with him at the start of my Halls’ career and ended up a co-director with him,” he said.

“He is a strong personality, very astute and, above all else, very fair as chairman and always had the good of the company and its employees in mind.

“He is respected by fellow professionals and staff alike which is a great testimony to his chairmanship. If I am able to gain a similar reputation, then I would be highly delighted.

“Under his leadership, the company has expanded and diversified and he has left a good board of directors and a thrusting young team of shareholders keen to continue to build on the solid foundations he has laid.”

Born and raised in Shrewsbury, Allen graduated in Land Use Studies from Sheffield Polytechnic where he also achieved Professional ISVA valuation and auctioneering qualifications.

He joined the company, originally known as Hall, Wateridge and Owen, in 1980 when his father was chairman.

He spent nine years working with Mr Willcock at the company’s Bishops Castle office where he gained experience in estate agency work and auctioneering in the livestock market.

He was promoted to manager of the company’s Ellesmere office in 1989, taking over from Jim Pearce who had held the post for 47 years.

The long service has rubbed off on him, as he is still manager of the office 28 years later.

Allen added: “I hope that he would be pleased to see another Gittins as chairman. I think he always hoped it might happen.

“My father had a unique way of running the company and enjoyed banter with farmers and all customers still talked of today.”

Allen wants the company to continue to expand in different directions and to keep pace with changes in the sector by ensuring that good, old fashioned values are combined with modern sales, marketing and communication techniques.