A PROMINENT businessman has died in a swimming accident while on holiday in an island paradise.
Former Yates Group executive Peter Dickson, 51, from Goosnargh, was hit by a speedboat in an area restricted to swimmers only off a beach on the Turks and Caicos Islands, close to the Bahamas.
Mr Dickson had arrived there on Boxing Day with his wife Davina and two friends for a New Year break.
He was enjoying one of his favourite sports when the tragedy occurred the day before New Year's Eve.
The couple's two sons, Charles and James, and Mrs Dickson's father, Mr Duncan Marsden, flew out to be with her after the accident. A memorial service was held on the beach on Tuesday.
Mr Dickson's father, Mr Edward Dickson, said it had been 'unbelievable' to hear such terrible news about his only son.
Speaking from his Goosnargh home, he told the News: "He was a loving and very loyal son. He kept in constant touch with me, phoning and visiting me regularly.
"We shall miss him beyond words."
A member of a well-known Goosnargh family, Peter Dickson was formerly managing director and chief executive of the pub chain Yates Group Plc, serving on the board from 1983 to 2001.
He held the same top positions at Yates's Bros Wine Lodges Ltd and led the company through full flotation on the London Stock Exchange.
A chartered surveyor by profession, he was born and brought up with his sister Daphne in the family homes in Broughton and Goosnargh.
Mr Dickson attended Broughton School and Marlborough College before gaining his surveyor's qualifications at Pontypridd Technical Colloege in South Wales.
He then worked for Basil Crossley at Reeds Rains Estate Agency in Preston for a year, gained his associateship and fellowship of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. He then joined the Yates Group.
Active in several sports, he particularly enjoyed sailing, swimming, water skiing and cycling. Both he and Mrs Dickson had mountain bikes, and completed the 'Tower to Tower' charity tour from the Eiffel Tower to Blackpool Tower.
He was also a member of the Young Presidents Organisation until recently and, accompanied by Mrs Dickson, travelled world-wide meeting other young businessmen.
Chris Hutt, chairman of the Laurel Pub Company which now owns Yates's, said: "We were very sad to hear the terrible news that Peter Dickson had been killed in a tragic accident while on holiday.
"Peter was well known and highly respected throughout the licensed trade, and through the last family connection with the famous Yates's business.
"He will be deeply missed by all his friends and former colleagues, and all our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family at this dreadful time."
Details of funeral arrangements have yet to be announced but will be finalised by Preston undertakers HJ Whalley and Sons.