Tributes have been paid to a Melton solicitor, who was the fourth generation of his family to practice in the town, following his death at the age of 68.
Peter Marsh, who was based in High Street for 24 years, carried on a family tradition in Melton stretching back to 1881.
His small, close-knit team at Peter W Marsh and Co, which includes his widow Lesley, are devastated by his loss.
He passed away suddenly at his home on April 26 and a small private funeral was held at Loughborough Crematorium on May 14.
Lesley and Peter were together for 24 years and married six years ago at Brooksby.
She said: “Many of our clients have sent cards and flowers and some of them have been in tears in the office.
“We’ve had some clients saying ‘what am I going to do now without Peter?’ because he had been their family solicitor for so many years.”
Peter was born in April 1950, the only child of Michael and Kit Marsh, and was educated at St Hugh’s Prep School in Lincolnshire, Oakham School and Vallingum College, before attending Loughborough College.
He was articled to his father at Oldham and Marsh in 1968 and qualified as a solicitor in 1974, becoming a partner two years later.
Peter left Oldham and Marsh in 1984 and set up his own practice in Grantham, moving the business to Oakham four years later.
Fittingly, he moved to 19 High Street in Melton in 1994 to occupy the offices which had been used by his father when he became a judge.
Lesley said: “Our clients have always been very loyal to Peter.
“We’ve never had to advertise the business because our clients have come to us and we’ve only recently had a website.”
Peter started off working in criminal law at the old Melton magistrates’ court and many of his successful cases involved drink-drive offences.
He expanded his practice to include property law, in addition to his highly respected advocacy and litigation skills.
Peter carried on a proud family tradition in the town.
His great-grandfather, Arthur Henry Marsh, moved to Melton 137 years ago to be a partner of Frederick Oldham in a solicitors’ business. Arthur became sole partner in Oldham Marsh in 1898.
Peter’s grandfather, Arthur Percival Marsh, then joined his father in the town practice and served with distinction with the Leicestershire Regiment during the First World War.
Michael John Waller Marsh, Peter’s father, became a solicitor in Melton in 1949 after being awarded the Military Cross at the age of just 21 while fighting in the Second World War.
Tragically, Peter’s parents were killed in a fire at their Burton Lazars home in 1983.
Lesley described Peter as a private person and someone who enjoyed fine wine, reading, listening to music and giving money to charity.
He also loved spending time in the beautiful garden to the rear of the business, at Pembroke Gardens.
Accounts manager Janet Bowes, who worked for Peter for 27 years, said: “He used to work in the back room but he never closed the door and he enjoyed doing the Daily Telegraph crossword with us and sharing the odd joke.
“Everyone enjoyed working with Peter.”
He worked closely over the years in Melton with Howard Partridge, as a partner and, latterly, as an associate.
Mr Partridge said: “Peter will be sadly missed in the legal profession as a very worthy opponent who fought his cause with enmity and he had a host of appreciative clients who benefited from his legal and advocacy skills.”
Peter was a huge help to former Melton Mayor, Tejpal Bains, in his formative years as a solicitor.
Councillor Bains led a minute’s silence to mark Peter’s passing at last week’s annual meeting of the council, shortly before he ended his year in the top civic role.
He told the meeting: “I want to pay tribute to Peter Marsh who was the fourth generation of his family to practice as a solicitor in Melton and who was a mentor to me in my career.
“He showed me great respect and helped me enormously.”