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2018/19 CAAV Presidential Team

(From left to right: Geoff Coster CAAV President; David Brooks CAAV Vice-President; Andrew Thomas CAAV Junior Vice-President)

Geoff Coster BSc MRICS FAAV - CAAV President

Geoff studied at Aberystwyth University and graduated with a BSc in Agriculture in 1982. In 1983, he became a cadet valuer with the Valuation Office at their Shrewsbury office and remains located there to this day.

Qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor in 1988 and a Fellow of this Association in 1994, he has undertaken a wide range of complex rural valuation casework including compensation arising from road schemes in Shropshire, Cheshire and the M6 toll in Staffordshire.

For the last twelve years he has been part of the VOA head office team, providing technical advice to the national network on agricultural valuations and is responsible for Inheritance Tax Agricultural Property Relief and Capital Gains Tax private residence relief cases.

His role also involves providing advice throughout the UK to an extensive range of public bodies, including Historic England, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Natural England, DEFRA, Wildlife Trusts, MOD, Land Registry and local authorities.

In addition to being a past Chairman of Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Local Association, he has been a practical examiner for the West Midlands and Wales group since the last century, a CAAV Council delegate since 2003 and is a long-standing member of the CAAV Valuation, Compensation and Taxation Committee. Within VOA he runs a training programme for valuers studying for the CAAV examinations.

His hobbies include cycling, gardening and running errands connected to his wife's many pet cats.

David Brooks BSc FRICS FAAV REV - CAAV Vice-President

David was born and raised in north east Essex, where he still practices. Despite coming from a non-agricultural background he has always had a strong interest in all things rural. Having obtained a degree in Valuation and Estate Management, he then qualified into rural practice via a correspondence course through the College of Estate Management.

Starting his career at Stanfords in Colchester, David quickly became involved with the market and soon learnt the required auctioneering skills which, once mastered, are never forgotten.  He then moved to Suffolk County Council, where he not only gained his RICS and FAAV qualifications, but also oversaw land drainage schemes on a good part of the County’s 16,500 acre smallholding estate.

Returning to Colchester in 1982 he joined Fenn Wright, and worked closely with the late Robert Harding who introduced David to his clients and also to the art of driving at great speed, dictating and holding a telephone conversation all at the same time.  David also worked closely with former CAAV President Bob Wright and was involved in his presidential year in 1990.  With clients throughout a large part of East Anglia, David became President of the Suffolk Association in 1996 and the Essex Association in 2002-4.

In 2004, he re-joined his former colleague Chris Leney to establish the Ipswich office of Robinson & Hall and together they raised the profile of the firm to become a farming household name in the area.  In October 2017 after a brief return to Stanfords, David and Chris established Brooks Leney to continue providing the quality and breadth of service for which they are renowned.

David deals with a wide range of work and has a particular interest in the resolution of farming family disputes. Although he is not formally qualified as a mediator, he has developed skills in resolving disputes as amicably as possible, or even better, preventing them in the first place.

David has been the Essex representative at CAAV Council for many years and is a Director of Want to Know, which hold twice yearly professional updates.  He is an Associate Governor at his local secondary school and keenly supports the local Young Farmers Club. David is also a member of Tendring Hundred Farmers Club and since 1998 has been the show Director for the Tendring Hundred Show. He is quietly convinced that it is the best one day show in the country.

David is married to Pam, who provides much needed support and constructive criticism.  They have two daughters who are both involved in the rural economy but in different ways: one is an ecologist and the other an agronomist. Both had said that they wanted a job in the countryside but one which did not involve working as many hours as a Land Agent – they have both since discovered that if you enjoy a job the hours do not matter.

In his spare time David enjoys training springer spaniels and growing fruit and vegetables.

Andrew Thomas BSc (Land Man) MRICS FAAV FLAA - CAAV Junior Vice-President

Andrew was born and raised in his early years in the Vale of Glamorgan, where he still practices. He was educated at Wycliffe College in Gloucestershire before reading for a Degree in Land Management at Reading University which he completed in 1984.

Andrew started his career at Berry Bros in Kettering under the pupilage of the late Leslie Northen OBE (a former President of the Agriculture Division of the RICS). It is here that he commenced his auctioneering career, attending Kettering, Market Harborough and Olney livestock markets on a weekly basis.

During his employment at Berry Bros, he gained his RICS and FAAV qualifications (1986 and 1987 respectively). He returned to Cowbridge in 1987 to join the family firm, Herbert R Thomas, which was founded by his late grandfather. He worked closely with late father, Robert Thomas (a first-class Honours graduate of Cambridge University). Herbert R Thomas has grown over the years into a multi-discipline company of Chartered Surveyors, offering property related services across the rural, residential and commercial sectors. The company also operates three livestock markets.

Andrew has been Chairman of the CAAV Wales Committee and a representative at CAAV Council for many years. He also served as the President of the South Wales, West Midlands and Midlands Examination Centre. He is an away member of the CAAV Midlands Counties Association.

Andrew is married to Lynne, a former retail fashion buyer, now freeland trainer/business coach. They have four children (the eldest twins are gainfully employed, one a commecial Chartered Surveyor in London and the other a Recruitment Manager with PWC). The youngest two are continuing with their education in Manchester and Southampton Universities respectively.

In true Welsh tradition, Andrew is a keen rugby supporter (having played first class rugby for Northampton whilst working for Berry Bros). He enjoys keeping fit and has successfully completed the London Marathon on several occasions and is a regular participant of the Cardiff Half Marathon. He hopes that this stamina will hold him in good stead for his three years of service to the CAAV as part of its Presidential Team!

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