Andrew Brownrigg, the co-founder of Haslemere Travel and former Chair of AITO Specialist Travel Agents, has died. He was 80.
Andrew had started 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, he and an American partner set up Gilt-Edge Travel in Pall Mall, looking after business travel for blue-chip companies in the City.
In 1988, Andrew and Di set up Haslemere Travel, initially in a first-floor office in Haslemere’s Weyhill district. Some 10 years later, they moved to Haslemere High with a grand opening involving both celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh and the then-Mayor.
Gemma Antrobus, the current owner of Haslemere Travel and now Chair of AITO Specialist Agents, who worked with Andrew before taking over the reins, described him as ‘the quintessential English gentleman’.
“He ran Haslemere Travel, alongside his wife, Di, for close to 26 years, with the help of a very loyal workforce and equally-loyal clients,” she said.
“He was very involved locally in Haslemere, including being appointed to the Chair of the local Chamber of Commerce. I learned a lot from him over the years, and we will all miss him greatly.”
Di said: “Andrew backed CARTA (The Campaign for Real Travel Agents, which subsequently became AITO Specialist Travel Agents), to the hilt, and became Chairman at one point; he was so passionate about independent tour operators!
“During his chairmanship, we enjoyed superb conferences in Waterford, southern Ireland (where Andrew played golf and we visited Waterford Crystal), in Seville (with a private performance from a famous guitarist and flamenco dancing), and Prague, with foie gras and that wonderful famous, delectably sweet, 5-Puttonyos Hungarian wine.
“He enjoyed life to the full but, although he enjoyed staying in luxury hotels, was happiest in three 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.”
A funderal service will be held at St Bartholomew’s Church, Haslemere GU27 1BW on Monday 6 November at 2pm.