ONE of the New Forest's best known figures, Maldwin Andrew Cyril Drummond, has died at the age of 84 after more than half a century of public service.

Mr Drummond was a former High Sheriff of Hampshire and head of New Forest Verderers for three years and also served as chairman of New Forest magistrates and the New Forest Consultative Panel.

He was also a leading light in many other organisations, including the New Forest Committee, as well as an author.

Dubbed the ancient guardians of the forest, the Verderers police the New Forest Commoners system which allows those with special rights to let their animals roam the area.

Mr Drummond joined the organisation as an elected verderer in 1962 and served for 28 years before retiring in 1990 to concentrate on other roles.

He returned nine years later after being appointed the Official Verderer following the retirement of John Burry, who had been in the job for six years.

He was serving as a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire in 1980 when he was chosen to be the new High Sheriff of Hampshire.

Ten years later he was awarded the OBE for public service and services to conservation after playing a leading role in the successful fight to stop the proposed Fawley B power station being built.

Mr Drummond was the former owner of the 2,400 acre Cadland estate and became a magistrate in 1964.

He was chairman of the bench in the early 1990s, when the five magistrates' courts at Hythe, Lymington, Ringwood, Romsey and Totton were replaced by a single facility at Lyndhurst.

In the 1990s Mr Drummond was head of a consortium that launched a bid to design a new royal yacht.

The consortium came up with a £63 million proposal to replace Britannia with a 370ft square rigged sailing ship with a top speed of 15 knots and a range of 6,000 miles.

"He was a remarkable individual, extremely knowledgeable on every subject as well as being very kind, generous and thoughtful. He had a huge passion for his interests, which included the New Forest and Britain's maritime heritage," said his son Aldred.

Mr Drummond died peacefully in Southampton General Hospital on February 18.

He leaves a widow, Gilly, a son and five daughters.

Anyone who wants to attend his funeral at All Saints' Church, Fawley, on March 16 is asked to email