After moving to Dorsington Manor near Stratford-upon-Avon Mr Dennis became heavily involved in the local community.

He was especially prominent as the reputed financial backer of the opposition to plans for a 6,000-home eco-town at Long Marston. The plans were dropped by the coalition government in 2010.

In recent years Mr Dennis had taken up writing poetry and anthologies of his verse were published.

He gave many readings of his works, around Stratford and elsewhere, and advertisements publicising these events usually carried the line: “Did I forget to mention the free wine?”

For a full obituary see Thursday’s Herald.