One of Bristolâ€™s longest established property figures, and former High Sheriff of the City, Robert Durie, has been awarded an OBE in the 2013 New Yearâ€™s Honours List the citation being for his services to the community in Bristol.
Mr Durie, who is 71, divided his career between the companies now known as Jones Lang LaSalle and Alder King before continuing with his own consultancy Duries Surveyors.
He has played a major role in the business life of the city and he is a trustee of numerous charities supporting both the young and the frail elderly of the West of England. He is currently Vice Patron of the National Association of Almshouses and formerly Chairman of The Patron Awards panel for rewarding nationwide excellence in almshouse refurbishment and development.
A former president of Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Bristolian by birth, he has also played a key role in the cityâ€™s economic development. In 1982, as Chairman of Bristol Marketing Board, he led a delegation to California to â€˜sell Bristolâ€™ to the multi-media industry â€“ now a key business sector in the local economy.
He is best known in the regional business community for his many years spent as a leading Chartered Surveyor, helping to bring many of the cityâ€™s biggest developments to fruition – including Severnside commercial area, shopping centres and many city centre office developments the latest being Portwall Place and Redcliffe Quay. He started work in 1959 as a trainee surveyor for the princely sum of 5s 2d (26p) a week â€“ when his employers Stanley Alder & Price were selling houses in East Bristol at a time when properties could sell for as little as Â£50.
Later he joined JP Sturge and Sons, became a partner and then helped the practice, as King Sturge (now JLL), to become one of the leading firms of Chartered Surveyors in UK and Europe. Upon retirement he moved to Alder King.
Early in his working life he joined both Lady Haberfield Almshouse Charity and The Anchor Society to follow his passion to do something positive for elderly, isolated and less fortunate local people. After a decade as Hon. Secretary of The Anchor Society in 1996 he served as its President to personally raise funds for the cause.
Astonishingly, this followed a tradition of 10 of Robertâ€™s relatives serving in that same post. His great-great grandfather and great grandfather served as Presidents in 1896 and 1906 respectively. He also remains very active in The Anchor Society, one of the three charities set up in 1629 in memory of the great Bristol benefactor, Edward Colston, and which provides support for the less fortunate and isolated elderly people in our community. At the present time the society is supporting â€˜Linkageâ€™ – a new concept in elderly care and charitable housing for our elderly. He is currently President elect of the Colston Society in Bristol which focuses on raising funds to support the young people in Redcliffe.
In addition, Robert has played a role in BYCA â€“ Bristol Youth Community Action. This is a charity started by Bristol Mayor George Ferguson when he was High Sheriff and which, each year, gives opportunities for young people from our more challenged communities to learn, develop and have fun during their school holidays.
Says Robert: â€œIt is a wonderful unexpected surprise to be recognised for the work I have done for the community of Bristol, about which I have cared passionately for close to 50 years. It is of course really nice to be recognised”
â€œAt the start of what is now a long and continuing business career as a proud Bristolian I want to continue to invest some of my energies back into the community in which we live which also follows a family tradition of caring for our community.â€