ONE of the best-known commercial and political figures in Winchester is bowing out after 40 years.

John Steel, a partner in Blake Lapthorn’s charity law group, is retiring.

Mr Steel is well known as a former Liberal Democrat city councillor representing Sparsholt and served as council leader and mayor in 2002-03.

A reception at Winchester’s Theatre Royal was held in his honour and was attended by more than 200 guests.

Mr Steel has also been involved in many charities and institutions, including Youth Options, Lord Wandsworth College, where he was a governor for 18 years, and The Hospital of St Cross, where he was a trustee for 18 years.

Among the 200 or so guests at the reception were Dame Mary Fagan, the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, the Mayor of Winchester Ernie Jeffs, the Very Rev James Atwell, Dean of Winchester, city council leader Keith Wood and Blake Lapthorn managing partner Walter Cha.