THE visionary founder of a longstanding estate agency legacy who has been described as a “real Clacton character” has died.

Bill Sheen, who was born and raised in Dagenham before moving to Clacton when he was 14 years old, died on December 12 aged 77 following a heart attack.

Growing up Mr Sheen attended the Pathfields School before undertaking an apprenticeship as a Letter Press Machine Minder in Colchester.

He quickly realised the printing business was not for him, and after a short stint in insurance, Mr Sheen decided to become an estate agent.

After accepting a job at Bairstow Eves as a sales negotiator, Mr Sheen became inspired by the estate agency business and his ambition grew.

Following a spell of working in South Africa Mr Sheen joined Edward Charles as a partner in Clacton and over the next four years they revolutionised the industry.

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The popular and beloved businessman became even more well-known in the Clacton area after he started up his very own Sheen & Richardson.

He founded the business in 1981 after teaming up with former colleague Mark Richardson, who he had befriended during his time at Bairstow Eves.

His eldest son Nick Sheen said: “They were hungry for success and they worked hard to establish themselves and build a successful business.

“The company thrived, and they opened further branches in Holland-on-Sea, Brightlingsea, Colchester, and Chelmsford, and a mortgage office in Clacton.

“This was the highlight of his working career, he was joined in the business by all three of his sons and he was a popular, respected and much-loved leader.”

In 1988, Abbey National Building Society bought Sheen & Richardson, but three years later his son Nick opened a new estate agency business called Sheens.

Located in the same Old Road premises where Mr Sheen had started his company, the two partners reconnected with many former customers and acquaintances.

Mr Sheen eventually left his legacy in the capable hands of Nick, and his other two sons Gary and Scott and became a board member at Clacton Town Football Club.

He retired and moved to Holland-on-Sea with his wife Daphne and they also bought a second home in Hunstanton, Norfolk, where they enjoy many peaceful experiences.

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Nick added: “He was never happier than during his time in estate agency. He always spoke fondly of these times and the people he worked and connected with.

“He was a visionary and a hard-worker, but he was also humble and always grateful for what he had and for what he achieved.

“He has been described by many as ‘unique’, ‘one of a kind’ and ‘true Clacton character’.

“He always had time for a chat and enjoyed a laugh and he put a smile on the face of others.

“He will be sadly missed by many.”

Mr Sheen’s son Gary continues to run Sheens from the same premises where his father first set the groundwork for the Sheens name in estate agency 40 years ago.