A FORMER huntsman who combined his love of both the countryside and books to forge a successful career has passed away at the age of 82.

David Grayling was born in Garstang, Lancashire, but spent most of his working life in what he always called Westmorland running a business dealing in 'rare and fine sporting books,' a venture which his deep knowledge of the subject and dedication to his work ensured was a great success.

After completing his National Service, he worked in agricultural sales until he had the good fortune, as he came to see it, to be made redundant by British Oil and Cake Mills in 1971.

That led to Mr Grayling entering the book trade and as he developed his business, he began to specialise in the sporting and country books that reflected his own interests and Grayling Books moved from Lancashire to Crosby Ravensworth and then to Shap.

Mr Grayling was a popular and well known figure and was delighted to be able to publish a book of tales by his friends the legendary Cumberland huntsman and writer Charles Norman de Courcy-Parry, who wrote under the name 'Dalesman.'

A personal touch was his trademark, book orders often arriving with lengthy hand written news updates, and he embraced the internet with online sales in recent years.

And alongside his business, he always continued his own country pursuits of walking, fishing and hunting, and served as whipper-in, acting huntsman and master and chairman of the Bleasdale Beagles as well as being joint master of The Cumbria Beagles.

Throughout his life, Mr Grayling also contributed to a variety of conservation and local bodies, including involvement in village shows, red squirrel preservation and running the beagle section of the world-renowned Vale of Rydal Sheepdog Trials and Hound Show.

He will be greatly missed, and there will be a memorial service celebrating Mr Grayling's life at Barnacre Church, Garstang, at 11am on May 29.

Donations in his memory can be made to the Countryside Restoration Trust via funeral directors Jeremy Rule on 01763 242560.