Solicitor’s 40-year career honoured at celebration evening

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A solicitor who has served his community for more than 40 years was honoured during an evening of celebration at Winchester’s Theatre Royal.

John Steel, a partner in Blake Lapthorn’s charity law group, has been with the firm since moving to the region from Cambridge in the 1970s.

During his time with the firm he has been highly active in the Winchester community, becoming a member of the city council for Sparsholt ward and later serving as Leader of the Council and as Deputy Mayor and Mayor.

He has also been involved in countless charities and institutions including Youth Options, Lord Wandsworth College, where he was a governor for 18 years, and The Hospital of St Cross, where was a trustee for 18 years.

John has also served as a trustee of the Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust and is a trustee of the current Winchester Cathedral appeal, to which Blake Lapthorn is a contributor.

Blake Lapthorn chairman Stephen Murfitt paid tribute to John during the event at the Theatre Royal to celebrate his long career and Blake Lapthorn’s involvement in the community.

Among the 200 or so guests were Dame Mary Fagan, the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, the Mayor of Winchester Cllr Ernie Jeffs, the Very Reverend James Atwell, Dean of Winchester, Winchester City Council leader Cllr Keith Wood, and Blake Lapthorn Managing Partner Walter Cha.

Mr Murfitt told guests: “Solicitors have always been involved in their communities, but perhaps a little shy in celebrating their own involvement. Blake Lapthorn seek to make a difference communities in which they work and John has a long involvement in the City of Winchester.

“John has always had the interest of people and their careers as one of his priorities. He was principal for a number of the trainee solicitors who are now partners in the current firm.

“John retires in a few weeks’ time and in typical fashion, he has embarked on a meticulous programme of ensuring that all his clients and many interests in this city will be in good successor hands.

“I want to thank John for his years of service to the community of Winchester and to Blake Lapthorn. We wish him a long and happy retirement.”