Tributes paid to Emsworth hotelier

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FRIENDS and family have paid tribute to one of the area’s most successful hoteliers.

In 1972 Drew Gibson, whose background was in aviation engineering, started The Brookfield Hotel in Emsworth. A small family-owned establishment, the hotel had just five bedrooms.

Thirty years later the hotel had 41 bedrooms, a 120-cover restaurant, two function rooms and a glowing reputation.

Warm tributes have been paid to the Glasgow-born businessman –who has died at the age of 85 – whose hotel career began with evening classes in hospitality at Highbury College.

Mr Gibson’s first career was for the De Havillands Aircraft Company.

He married Joyce Palmer on April 11, 1955, supporting his wife as she started a hairdressing business in Emsworth in 1957.

Mr Gibson joined Joyce in the business and together they bought another salon in Emsworth.

An early member of Emsworth Business Association, he bought Brookfield House in Havant Road in 1971, opening the hotel business the following year.

Over the years the hotel expanded considerably with extensions to the property. He sold the hotel in 2006.

Mr Gibson, who lived in Langstone, passed away at Queen Alexandra Hospital on March 11.

He is survived by his wife Joyce, son Alistair Gibson, and grandsons Christopher, James, and Robert.