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Grant Watson OBE

Past-Master of the Guild of Guardians of Bristol, an outstanding local business and family man

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It was such sad news to hear that our much-loved previous Master of the Guild of Guardians (1987-88) passed away in July earlier this year. Grant was a wonderful person and such a valued supporter to me and the Guild of Guardians of Bristol. I know he will be missed by so many of you who have known him over the years.


Grant was a major impact on our city, he worked tirelessly for numerous charitable, sporting and community organisations, as well as devoting a huge amount of time and effort to the general business community. He was a Partner and Chair with Alder King and a former Chair of the RICS South West board and President of the Bristol Property Agents Association. He was also President of Bristol Rotary Club, President of Clifton Rugby Club and a trustee for other charities, including SS Great Britain and Coombe Dingle Sports Club. During his career Grant demonstrated inspirational leadership, entrepreneurship and a passion for Bristol and the developing region with all his achievements leading to being awarded an OBE in January 2012. Grant was also awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in July 2013 via Guardian member Bill Marshall.


I have shared some messages from the Guardians below and again would like to pass on all our thoughts and best wishes to Grants friends and family.


Best wishes,

Vanessa Moon | Master 2019 - 2021

Happy memories

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 Guardians' trip to Oporto 

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Grant Watson OBE

1939 – 2021

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Bordeaux Trip - At lunch in St Emilian during our Guardians’ Bordeaux trip with a smiling Grant and Karen in the foreground.


“With the death of Grant we have all lost a great friend of and contributor to the Guild, he made a considerable contribution to our ongoing developments and success as he has done for the business life of our greater Bristol region. His love and care of his family is a mark of the real man. I have known Grant for more than 50 years and over that time shared many happy personal and business memories with him -all of which were great fun.


We first met through our joint love of rugby at Clifton Rugby Club where from 1962 he went on to transform the playing and financial fortunes of the club with his leadership skills and direction.


His contributions to the Guardians over many years have been many, particularly in befriending and making new members welcome and of course with his wit during our social events and overseas business trips- he was always entertaining.  During his year as Master he organised the reduction of the width of the Mansion House large dining table which meant we could have conversations across the table which was extremely difficult previously.  Whilst being a member of the First Committee, his wide business and property experience were of considerable support to the development and fortunes of the Guardians.

In business with his drive and leadership he transformed his company Alder King being senior partner for more than 25 years. I was fortunate to experience this from my position as a trustee of some of the UWE charities where Grant and Alder King added significant commercial and financial value with his property skills. This support he gave to many blue chip companies and developers where he was well respected and trusted.

He was a supporter of  a number of charities with his fund raising activities and ran a number of fund raising marathons for them.

His outstanding legacy will be his kindness ,wit and support to younger persons, his unstinting  personal and business support  to the Guild of Guardians and Bristol, but most of all his love of his family and life” -  Norman Biddle

“My firm acted for Alder King and for Grant and his family for many years. It is fair to say he was a legend when it comes to the regional property world and a man who lived his life very well and with great purpose”  - Andrew Glynn

“He was such a leading presence in so many of the organisations I know and it is hard to believe he is no longer with us. He had so much vigour and strength and this makes this news even harder to come to terms with” – John Hollingdale

“Although I first met Grant through business interests in Bristol, it was through our association with the Guild of Guardians of Bristol that I got to know him better. He was always an enthusiastic supporter of those of us joining the Guild and was keen to ensure we knew its aims and objectives and thus were able to serve the Guild and the city of Bristol. In my own year as Master, a group of us including Grant and Karen enjoyed a trip to our twin city of Bordeaux. Grant’s constant smile, good humour and his knowledge of how best to enjoy ourselves throughout was typical of him and helped to make the trip a success. I shall always remember Grant as the consummate professional and as a friend with a smile on his face, a ready wit and a word of encouragement whenever needed” – Cedric Clapp

"I was so sorry to hear of Grant’s passing. He (and Norman!) was very much the life and soul of the Guild. He could recount stories for hours on end – as I discovered on a number of Guild overseas trips. I remember he was one of the first Guardians to introduce himself to me and then proceeded to introduce me to the other Guardians around; ensuring I felt included and welcomed.


Although a joker, he had a real depth of character and professionalism and helped me with a number of business matters. Grant understood that business is about connections and also the importance of putting back into your profession and business community.


The Guild and Bristol is a poorer place for his passing. Our thoughts are with Karen, his sons and their families” – Nigel & Deb Hardy

We are all poorer for the loss of Grant.  I have thought about what I might say in tribute, at length,

but nothing I can conjure up comes close to the words of Shakespeare


"Now cracks a noble heart

Good night, sweet Prince

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest"


Rest in peace, Grant." - Chris Carwardine

Thank you


Thank you to members of the Guild who have contributed their fond memories and messages of condolences for Grant and Grant’s family.

If you would like to add a message to this page, please send over to our Administrator, Sean at:

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