The late Ivor Ingall.

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Educated at Hurstpierpoint College, his father’s old school, he went to Sandhurst and joined a cavalry regiment, The Fifth Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. After 27 years in the Army he retired to run a successful antiques business for another two decades, with his wife, Sal, whom he married in 1966.

Ivor was a very talented, charismatic person, of unstinting kindness, with a wry sense of humour. He played rugby for Sandhurst, the Army and Cambridge University, where he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Army postings included Libya, Cyprus, Zimbabwe and various places in the UK.

His last army job was in command of the Southampton University Officers’ Training Corps, where he endeared himself to the cadets by always taking part in any activities he devised for them, for example a march to Winchester, carrying logs on their shoulders.

In his spare time, he used the building skills learned as a builder’s ‘tea boy’ while waiting to attend Sandhurst to restore and to build wonderful, unique homes for himself and Sal – he was electrician, parquet floor layer, carpenter and even thatcher, all the time doing his ‘day job’ in the army.

Ivor and Sal built up a reputation in the antiques world for the authenticity and beauty of their wares, specialising in ‘decorative’ items and he was a skilled restorer. They exhibited at many of the top antiques fairs in the country (such as Olympia and Battersea). In later years, after they gave up exhibiting, he often acted as ‘vet’ on items offered at fairs by other dealers.

Animal magic

Ivor created Heytesbury Pavilions [architectural garden structures and follies for wild and domesticated pets]. He was justly proud of his original designs, mostly based on actual buildings, which won a Certificate of Commendation at Chelsea Flower Show in 2007. It was unusual to receive such an award when exhibiting at Chelsea for the first time.

He was beloved by all his family, including his nephews, and great nephews and nieces, for whom he devised exciting and unusual games and competitions when they visited – for instance, assault courses in the garden and remote-controlled tanks inside, when it was wet. His wife, Sal, survives him, with their two dogs, the latest in a long line of mostly English Bull Terriers and Jack Russells.

From Alasdair Brown