THE head of a well known North Yorkshire family has died after a sudden illness.

Sir Henry Beresford-Peirse, 6th Baronet, of Bedale Manor, died suddenly in London on Thursday. He was 79.

His family have had historic connections with Bedale, owning the Grade 1 listed hall which was sold in 1951 to the local council after being taken over during the war by the army and falling victim to squatters.

The neighbouring parkland was later given to the community by the family.

Sir Henry succeeded his father Sir Henry Campbell De La Poer Beresford-Peirse in 1972.

He leaves a wife Lady Jadranka and two sons, the baronetcy now passes to the elder son Henry.

Bedale County Councillor John Weighell said:” Sir Henry was always very supportive of organisations within Bedale, he was very involved when Hambleton District Council gave Bedale Hall back to the community.”