ONE of the best known figures in Worcestershire’s farming, hunting and equestrian circles, Peter Steel of Inkberrow, has died.

A former hunting correspondent of Berrow’s Worcester Journal, Mr Steel was joint secretary of the Worcestershire Hunt for more than 20 years and together with his wife Audrey organised many equestrian and Pony Club events at their home in the village, Broadclose Farm. Mrs Steel is Worcestershire chairman of the Countryside Alliance and a longstanding member of Wychavon District Council.

The couple married in 1958 and moved to Broadclose Farm the following year, rearing sheep and calves and with 5,000 laying hens.

In 1967, after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, they diversified into horse liveries. In the late Sixties, Mr Steel became one of the hunting correspondents for Berrow’s, submitting regular weekly reports and also wrote for the national publication Horse and Hound.

“Peter Steel was a true countryman,” said Worcestershire Hunt joint master David Palmer. “He had a wonderful avuncular way about him with a warm country brogue that made everyone feel really welcome. He and Audrey did so much to introduce hundreds of young people to riding and hunting and it was some measure of the man that he hunted regularly until he was 80 and even rode occasionally right up until his last day.”

Mr Steel was diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this year and died peacefully in his sleep at home, aged 83.

He is survived by his wife Audrey, their sons Anthony and Ian, and grandchildren Emma and and Matthew.

A service to celebrate his life will be held at St Peter’s Church, Inkberrow on Thursday, at 2.45pm.