Michael Stannard: Award-winning North Norfolk hotelier

Award-winning North Norfolk hotelier Michael Stannard, who has died aged 82, ran the Blakeney Hotel for more then three decades.

Only last year, the family business won the EDP Tourism Award for best hotel.

It was also awarded a four-star AA rating after an extensive refurbishment of its 63 bedrooms.

Born in Horsham, Sussex, Mr Stannard grew up in Norwich and went to Town Close School, before boarding at The Lees School, Cambridge.

At the age of 13, he was evacuated to Pitlochry, Scotland, where some of his fellow pupils' parents helped run a makeshift school in a country hotel until the end of the war.

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He returned to Cambridge to complete his education and after his two years' National Service was articled to a firm of Norwich accountants, Herbert Holl, of Hogg Bullimore.

A keen sportsman, he was fly-half for Norwich Rugby Club and later played for Richmond after moving to London.

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He also played for Norfolk County Cricket Club. His other great hobby was sailing, which he learnt on the Norfolk Broads.

In 1955 he qualified as a chartered accountant and then worked for De Havilland, later Hawker Siddeley.

He joined Trust Houses in London, later becoming the group financial controller of Trust House Forte.

In 1985, he gave up accountancy to fulfil his dream of running his own hotel.

With the support of his wife, Annabel, whom he had married in 1960, they transformed the Blakeney Hotel into a successful privately-owned, family-run hotel.

Since becoming proprietor, Mr Stannard, who lived at Wighton, typically worked seven days a week.

Of late, he had reduced his hours to devote more time to his hobbies of golf, walking and sailing.

They had three children and seven grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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