Adrian’s legacy is one of vision, care and high standards

Adrian Otten
Adrian Otten

It was with great sadness that we learned of the recent passing of Colten Group Co-Founder Adrian Otten at the age of 80.

Born and bred in Hull and a civil engineer by trade, Adrian worked on the M1 for several years before coming to the New Forest to continue his career at the Fawley oil refinery.

In 1970 he joined a local building firm as an engineer on a development in Lymington and this is where he met his future business partner, John Colwell.

When the pair formed a small housebuilding development company in Lymington 50 years ago this September, they could never have dreamt of the remarkable legacy they would create across both Colten Developments and Colten Care.

With the name of the business made up of the first three letters of Colwell and the last three of Otten, Colten has grown steadily over the decades under Adrian and John’s governance.

Back in 1971 on Colten’s first site, Adrian acted as a co-site labourer as well as dealing with land acquisition, finance and sales. It was a common sight for him to be in a smart shirt and tie unloading 7,000 bricks by hand before going off to meet a bank manager or planning officer.

In the early 1980s, a site they secured in Lymington for 24 flats included an existing residential care home, Monmouth House. Once the flats were built, they approached the matron of a nearby care home to run Monmouth House – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Over the decades Adrian and John complemented their expertise by bringing in senior colleagues with external experience who would share their vision and high standards.

In 2001 Adrian was proud to have his son Rick join the business. Rick eventually took on Adrian’s role as Co-Chairman in 2019, allowing Adrian to enjoy time away from the pressures of working life.

Adrian supported many charities in Lymington and donated regularly to his local church. He enjoyed sport, played squash and tennis, and he owned, sailed and raced first keelboats and then motorboats. He enjoyed regular passages around the south coast and an annual cruise to Brittany with his wife Ro and close friends.

Paying tribute, John Colwell said: “Adrian thoroughly enjoyed his career and I have been truly fortunate to have been his business partner over what has turned out to be a fascinating half century. “His family can be extremely proud of everything he has achieved.”

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