Lawyer and leading figure in property management

Born: September 15, 1965;

Died: December 8, 2017

ANNE Shipton Middleton, who has died aged 52, was a solicitor regarded in the legal world as an innovator and a strong advocate for positive change, especially in the sphere of land legislation.

Her professional skills and experience focused on corporate law and commercial property. In particular, she was heavily involved working with Sir Tom Hunter at his then company Sports Division. Later, she was an in-house solicitor for the property and land management business Greenbelt.

Her story began in Edinburgh in 1965, three years after her parents John and Elsie Shipton had returned to Scotland from Ghana, where they had met, married and lived for 11 years.

Anne was born a younger sister to Murray and Helen, both of whom had been born in Ghana, and the Shipton family was completed two years later by Eileen.

Described by a family friend as “the sweetest sister”, the family home was in Cammo in the north-west of Edinburgh, and it was here that the young Anne formed lasting neighbourhood friendships, attending the Panda Playgroup in Davidsons Mains. Through her mother’s close connections with Cramond Kirk, she was also a member of Sunday School, the Brownies and Girl Guides.

In the late 1970s John and Elsie relocated with Anne and Eileen to Broughton, Tweeddale, in the Borders. It was not necessarily a move that commended itself to the teenage and free-spirited Anne and she would often spend weekends in Edinburgh with her sister Helen and her family.

Hers was an active youth, with sport positively encouraged at home; she enjoyed golfing and learned to ski at Glasgow’s Hillend with her sister Eileen.

Summer holidays were often spent camping in France and Anne soon developed a love of foreign travel. This extended in later life to making every effort to attend family gatherings wherever they took place – and there were many. As Elsie was the eldest of the seven children of Harold and Ivy Jones of Bath, Avon, Anne was one of 25 cousins on her mother’s side, who now live between the UK, Munich and San Francisco.

She attended Mary Erskine School before going on to graduate in economics and international relations at Aberdeen University, which is where she met her beloved husband Alex Middleton.

She qualified as a solicitor in 1992 after studying Scots Law and completing the diploma in legal practice at Edinburgh University.

She would go on to gain a broad legal training during her two years at Wright Johnson & Mackenzie in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Upon qualifying she began work at Clairmonts Solicitors in Glasgow.

In 1997 she joined Greenbelt, the Glasgow-based property and land management company which was then a small team but on the cusp of major growth. Mrs Middleton proved integral to this process, which saw Greenbelt become a main player in the UK as a property and land management business.

As in-house solicitor she would be at the centre of many important decisions over the years. Working alongside her husband, Alex, Greenbelt’s chief executive, they committed themselves to 20 years of building the business.

Mrs Middleton would go on to become company secretary, overseeing many complex land transactions. She was also involved in wider business matters, such as employment, asset valuation, insurances, media, and many other important elements that are both the foundations and lifeblood of a thriving business.

Often the question “what is an in-house solicitor and what do they do?” was asked by many outside the business. The recommendation would always be: “Go meet Anne Shipton at Greenbelt – she can show you exactly that.”

Well respected and trusted in Greenbelt’s UK-wide business network, she was loved most by the team she oversaw and cared for, especially younger employees who were just setting out in their careers.

For them she was a mentor and a friend and she loved to see her young charges develop.

Her easy company and natural gift for nurturing friendships earned her enduring relationships that span from pre-school days to her professional life. To all she would often say: “Just get on with it! Life is too short!”

Anne Middleton is survived by her loving husband Alex and two children, Jamie and Abby.