Her friendship with Sebastian de Ferranti had started when they were both young and although they both married other people they remained friends.When she separated from her first husband the relationship intensified and she and de Ferranti married, both for the second time, in 1982.

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"Take the car," she advised friends who wanted to swim.

"It's too far to walk."A brilliant cook, the equal of most professionals, she was to become one of Cheshire's most elegant and accomplished hostesses.

Various members of the Royal Family stayed at Henbury, as did a wide circle of friends.

She resigned the chairmanship in 1996, but continued to serve on the committee.

She was widely regarded as the best chairman in living memory. In her teens she was adopted by her aunt and uncle, Alec Gregg, the scion of one of the founding families of the Industrial Revolution.

Feeling that her conventional education at St Mary's Wantage had not given her sufficient knowledge of Maths and French, her adoptive father arranged for additional tuition at Manchester Grammar School, where he was a governor.

In the 500-year history of the school she was believed to be the only Old Girl, and it was by this title she was introduced at the school speech day many years later.

At a time when farmers were becoming increasingly concerned about damage to their land - although most were and still are overwhelmingly in favour of the hunt - she ensured the field behaved and did as little damage as possible; she stood no nonsense, and on one occasion sent half the field home.

In 1990 she became Hunt chairman at a most difficult time.