His helicopter services company was world renowned

Alan Bristow, the maverick entrepreneur whose helicopter company made a fortune during the exploitation of oil and gas in the North Sea, has died aged 85.

He won the Croix de Guerre in 1950 for rescuing wounded French Foreign Legion soldiers in Indochina and was appointed OBE for services to aviation in 1966.

A colourful stocky man with a scary temper he was equally at home hob-knobbing with Aristotle Onassis in Monte Carlo or decking rivals.

He survived many helicopter crashes including on ewhen he was overcome by DDT fumes while spraying crops in Algeria.