TRIBUTES have been paid to a Herefordshire horseman and adventurer who has died aged 82.

Former parish councillor, farmer and racehorse trainer Peter Jonathan Davenport was born on January 2, 1937, at Donnington, Herefordshire.

Bought up at Foxley, Mr Davenport rode his pony to school before heading to Eton, where he became school athlete laureate and ran with Roger Bannister, Chris Chataway and Ian Boyd. He served his National Service in the Royal Navy during the Suez crisis, later hoping to train as a pilot.

But the dream was short lived. When the Navy decided he wouldn’t make the grade, he sold his MG sportscar to pay his passage to Australia, where he spent his 21st birthday in the outback, droving cattle on horseback with Aborigines.

Later, a trip with Japanese pearl divers prompted him to learn Japanese and travel to the Orient.

Among the first Europeans to visit Hiroshima, he loved the country and people. Further travels to Vietnam and Hong Kong left him with a lifelong fascination with East Asia.

When money ran out he returned to work in Australia, spending six years there before returning home.

But the adventures were not to come to an end there. He then took a shipment of bulls for his parents from Tilbury to Argentina, where he worked on estancias (farming land) while learning Spanish.

On his return to England, Mr Davenport became a tenant on Hill Top Farm at Foxley before buying Hinton Manor, Eardisland, which he had fallen in love with while out hunting.

There he indulged his love of horses, becoming an amateur jockey, breeder and trainer until an accident forced him to stop racing and farm full time.

He still rode with the Radnor and West Hereford Hunt, where he was master for some years. A member of Eardisland Parish Council for many years until retirement and ill health, he was a proud supporter of the village, helping residents, fighting to save the school, organising the village hall, and even laying the parquet flooring when school closed.

He leaves three children from his first marriage: Nicola, Jane and Jonathan; seven grandchildren and his second wife, Zigi, who farmed with him for 41 happy years.

He will be laid to rest at Hinton, where the farm, garden and vineyard gave him enormous pride and pleasure.