Haslemere Travel founder Andrew Brownrigg dies aged 80

Haslemere Travel founder Andrew Brownrigg has died at the age of 80.

Brownrigg, a former chair of Aito Specialist Travel Agents, died unexpectedly but peacefully with his family by his side on Friday, October 13.

Haslemere Travel owner Gemma Antrobus described her former employer as “the quintessential English gentleman”, adding: “I learned a lot from him over the years, and we will all miss him greatly.”

Brownrigg and his wife Di set up Haslemere Travel in 1988 in a first-floor office in the Wey Hill district of Haslemere, Surrey, before moving to the high street in 1998, where the grand opening involved both Alan Titchmarsh and the then-mayor.

Aito called Brownrigg, latterly of Liphook, a “long-term and very enthusiastic supporter of the association”, while his wife Di described him as “passionate about independent tour operators”.

Educated at Winchester College, Brownrigg spent several years in accountancy before starting his career in the travel industry in 1974 with a role at Bridge Travel in Ebury Street, London, followed by five years at Sightseeing International, the incoming arm of Dan Air.

After marrying Di in 1979, Brownrigg and an American partner set up Gilt-Edge Travel in Pall Mall, looking after business travel for blue-chip companies in the City. Several high-end hotel concierges also used the business’ services.

Brownrigg owned Haslemere Travel until the management buy-out in 2015, when Antrobus took over.

Antrobus said: “[Brownrigg] ran Haslemere Travel, alongside his wife, Di, for close to 26 years, with the help of a very loyal workforce and equally-loyal clients.

“He was very involved locally in Haslemere, including being appointed to the chair of the local Chamber of Commerce.”

Di said her husband backed Aito Specialist Travel Agents “to the hilt” and, when he became chairman, the couple enjoyed “superb” conferences in Waterford, Seville and Prague.

Paying tribute to her husband, Di said: “He enjoyed life to the full but, although he enjoyed staying in luxury hotels, was happiest in three-star or four-star properties, preferably feet-in-the-sand places such as Kipungani on Lamu Island, Kenya.

“We had some fabulous holidays over the years, which helped enormously on the sales front at Haslemere Travel. He described every part of the trips he enjoyed so brilliantly to clients that they simply had to follow in his footsteps.

“Africa and the Greek islands were our personal favourite destinations.”

Di said her husband “wasn’t what I would call a bon viveur”, adding: “Tapas-style food was our favourite and his knowledge of wine was limited, although he of course took great pleasure in drinking a few glasses in the company of friends and family.”

The Brownriggs moved to Liphook, four miles west of Haslemere, after the management buy-out in 2015.

Brownrigg was a member of Liphook Golf Club for 68 years, and in recent years he also played with the Travel Industry Golf Society.

Brownrigg is survived by his wife and two daughters, Amy and Lucy.

The funeral is being held at 2pm in St Bartholomew’s Church, Haslemere, on Monday, November 6. All are welcome, and donations to charity in lieu of flowers would be gratefully received.

The family’s chosen causes are The Stroke Association, Médecins Sans Frontières and The Fernden Foundation, with contributions to be made via funeral directors GM Luff & Partners.

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