Brian was born on 21st February 1942, the only child of Minnie and Mervin Tester who lived on Hickmans Lane and his family’s roots were embedded in Sussex. His paternal grandfather, Edward was once the landlord of The Green Man in Horsted Keynes and his uncle Scan was a notable folk musician who played the local pubs and even The Royal Festival Hall.
Brian attended Lindfield Primary School, where he later served as a School Governor, and was accepted to continue his education at Brighton and Hove Grammar School, leaving in 1958 to join the London Quantity Surveying practice of AE Thornton-Firkin and Partners initially as a student then as trainee/junior QS. He studied part time at the Regent Street Polytechnic, completing his Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) examinations and becoming Chartered in 1965.
In 1963 he joined AL Smith & Partners, then based in offices in Victoria Street until they opened an office in Haywards Heath in 1974, and Brian became the resident partner in 1975.
Brian began his active life with the RICS as a member of the Sussex Branch Junior Organisation, serving as Chair in 1971. He became a committee member of Sussex Branch in 1977 and was Chairman in the Centenary Year (1988/1989). He was also Chair of the QS Division on more than one occasion. At national level, he was a member of the Quantity Surveyors Divisional Council from 1990.
Outside of RICS, he was a member of the Sussex Local Joint Consultative Committee for Building from 1980. Among other affiliations he was Chair of the Consultant Quantity Surveyors Association in 1993/1994.
Brian met Sue at the Haywards Heath Golf Club where they were both having lessons and their romance blossomed when they would see each other again at the Sussex 20s Club. They married at All Saints Church, Lindfield in 1971 and moved to Croxton Lane. In 1973 their daughter Alison was born followed by a son, Jonathan, in 1976. Alison married Mark in 1997 and they have two children Hannah & Nathan and Jonathan married Sushi in 2013.
They continued to attend All Saints until 1982, when they joined the United Reformed Church and both took a very active role within the fellowship. Brian would often take part in the service, reading the lesson with his distinctive tone or even acting in dramas. As Alison and Jonathan joined The Girls’ and Boys’ Brigade, Brian took to coaching the BB Football Team and reprised his role as a referee, something he had done for the Mid Sussex Leagues. Alongside supporting Brighton & Hove Albion, Brian was an ardent follower of Sussex Cricket.
He was passionate about cricket and had been a player for Lindfield Cricket Club and was also a member of the MCC. He loved the history of the game and was an avid collector of books on the sport and would often recount the story of Fred & Maurice Tate who both played for Sussex and England.
This love of history was a major part of Brian’s life and he became something of a local historian. He enjoyed giving lectures and talks and indeed his last one was only in November 2016 on ‘Memories of Lindfield’ to the U3A History Group. He also owned at extensive postcard collection, the majority of which were of Lindfield. This culminated in the publication of the book ‘Lindfield Remembered’, which Brain co-authored with Gwyn Mansfield and Peter Duncan, and featured many of his personal collection with all proceeds going to the King Edward Hall.
Brian was a member of the team that founded the Lindfield Village Day celebrations, after they organised a fête for the 1977 Jubilee and its success led to it being an annual event and a staple of Lindfield life.
Throughout his life he was supported every step of the way by his beloved wife Sue who helped him prepare for his talks, attended postcard fairs and prepared picnics for their frequent cricket matches. His life has left a lasting legacy for those all who knew him, especially his children and grandchildren and he was even immortalised in music by his son’s band and their song Big Bri In The Sky!
A man who loved Lindfield and who Lindfield loved.