The world of business has paid tribute to property entrepreneur and chicken farmer Dick Hickton who died suddenly of a heart attack.
Mr Hickton founded private property investment and development firm Barberry Properties and at the time of his death he was chairman of the Worcestershire-based property company Maximus, which he founded in 2001.
Just a couple of months before Mr Hickton’s death the firm announced it would be moving into the coal mining business, after the rise in commodity prices made it economic to exploit a 180,000 tonne seam on a Derbyshire housing site owned by the company.
Barberry worked closely with Richardsons Development on a number of major schemes including some in Birmingham city centre and Mr Hickton had a long standing business relationship with Roy Richardson and his late twin Don.
Roy said: “Dick Hickton was a larger than life character who committed himself wholeheartedly to everything that was jointly undertaken. His undoubted enthusiasm, ebullience and his marketing ability had a huge impact.
“He has left his mark on the centre of Birmingham through the calibre of the schemes that were undertaken at that time. Dick added to the amalgam that has powered Birmingham over the last two decades.
“Sadly there are too few of these sort of individuals left and he will be missed by all that knew and worked with him.”
As well as his successful career as a property developer he was also a chicken farmer producing 120,000 birds every 40 days for Morrisons.
But away from the world of business, Mr Hickton was well known for his active and varied social life. And he was well known on the Birmingham social circuit as one of the most colourful characters in the region.
He was a long-standing supporter of Moseley Rugby Club. A year ago he donated more than £50,000 towards the purchase of a new 650-seater covered stand at their Billesley Common ground.
A spokesman for the rugby club said everyone there had been greatly saddened to hear about the death of the club’s former backer and benefactor, Dick Hickton.
He added: “Dick was one of the generous people who helped the club financially when the game went professional in the mid 1990s.
“He aided the club periodically since then, most recently paying for half of the new covered stand which Moseley members are currently enjoying for a second season.
“Dick was always good company and will be sadly missed by his many friends at Moseley. The club’s sends its condolences to his wife Jane, daughter Annabel and son Jonathon and other members of his family.”
As well as a rugby fan, Mr Hickton was a keen sailor. In 2001 he entered the 3,000 mile Transatlantic ARC race with seven friends and colleagues from Birmingham’s legal and property worlds.