FORMER New Forest Verderer and magistrate Major the Honourable Peter Charles Baillie has died at the age of 89.

Born in Bakewell, Derbyshire in 1927, Peter was the youngest child of Brigadier George and Lady Maud Baillie.

Educated at Eton, Peter then joined the Life Guards, much to the amusement of his family because he disliked horses. His parents were joint masters of the High Peak and as a child he was encouraged, under enormous duress, to join the field on his pony.

He always said horses," bite at one end, kick at the other and are extremely uncomfortable in the middle."

"Peter's commanding officer, releasing his desire to do more with tanks and less with horses, posted him to Bovington during which time he met a great bunch of friends and the girl who stole his heart, Jennifer Priscilla Newgass," said his daughter Triona Charalambous.

They married in November 1955 and started life together in married quarters with Jenny remaining in Windsor with their daughters Triona, Bizzie and Susan while Peter was posted to the Middle East. Then the whole family moved to Germany for his final posting.

Shortly before leaving the army, Peter purchased Wootton Hall in New Milton where a couple of years their fourth daughter Rachel was born.

Peter and Jenny were keen to learn all about the New Forest. Peter continued as an army reservist with the Civil Defence and he also made contact with keepers in the New Forest to learn more about the history of the area.

He joined the British Deer Society and later was chairman and then president.

In due course Peter became a magistrate and served on the bench until he had to retire at the age of 70.

"Despite his dislike of horses, Peter agreed to the development of a place where horse motivated students with disabilities could learn life skills through being with horses and the Fortune Centre of Riding was conceived," said Triona.

He helped build the centre and presided over mealtimes when the first students lived in the house with the family. Even when the students moved into converted barns at Wootton Hall Farm, they still joined the family for meals for many years.

Peter was also a Forestry Commission Verderer and always had the best interests of the commoners in mind, particularly through his services as chairman of the Commission's drainage committee where his good humour diffused many heated discussions.

Peter and Jenny were involved with the annual New Forest Show for years, becoming joint presidents of the show in 1988.

Peter regularly appeared with Jack Hargreaves on the weekly television programme 'Out of Town', imparting his deer and conservation knowledge.

"Despite been born into a life of privilege, it didn't matter to him one jot where someone came from as long as they were honest. He was a true gentleman."

He died on March 15 and his funeral was held at St John the Baptist Church, Lymington on March 31.