The sudden death of a leading estate agent has stunned the wide circle who knew him.

Ian Westerling, co-owner and managing director of Pike Smith & Kemp died after he collapsed on the evening of Bank Holiday Monday. He was 51.

Peter McArdle, Ian’s business partner and co-owner of the estate agency covering Bucks, Berks and Oxfordshire, led the tributes of the business community.

“Ian’s knowledge and love for the industry was unwavering and infectious,” he said.

“He was a well loved and highly regarded figure in the world of property. His career spanned more than three decades.

“To his colleagues he was generous and giving of time – a true mentor – and huge fun to be around. But above all he was a family man through and through.

“He was much loved and admired by all who knew him and our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go out to his family and his many friends.”

Right from first day as a trainee negotiator in the late 1980s, he loved his job. “He gave up a tennis scholarship in the United States to take up his first agency role with GA Property Services in Thame,” Peter McArdle remembers.

“His early career saw him rise through the agency ranks with Raffety Buckland and Brown & Merry before gaining experience in land and new homes with the Sequence group.”

His role in senior management was advanced by a move to Hamptons International where he met his wife, Catherine, head of lettings at the agency.

From Hamptons he joined Chesterton Humberts which led to his appointment as MD of Humberts in 2014.

Never one to let the grass grow under his feet, in 2018 Ian became head of UK operations for the Australian-based firm PropTech, also vice president and regional executive of NAEA Propertymark, the leading professional organisation.

The following year he joined the board of London-based Daniel Cobb. In February this year he became co-owner of the Berks Bucks and Oxon region of PSK.

Michael Day, managing director of Integra Property Services, regarded Ian as one of the best. He said: “I had the pleasure of meeting him on many occasions at industry events and enjoyed his company.

“He was a gentle and kind man with an easy smile and a great sense of humour.

“We often discussed the goings-on in the estate agency world and I never ever heard him say anything derogatory about anyone.

“He left us far too young and the tragedy of his passing is made all the worse by the fact that he has such a young family – three of his five children being under the age of eight.”

Another friend, former estate agent Royston Davis, ran into Ian in the town centre of Thame shortly before his death. “I thought how well he looked,” Royston says.

“I had total admiration for him. I thoroughly enjoyed his competitive edge. He was so respected in the profession. I’m just pleased I had the opportunity to chat to him again.”

Industry colleagues are invited to share photographs and stories with Ian’s family at

In support of the many charitable causes Ian was involved in, his family has set up a fundraising page at for those who would like to donate in his memory.