A church community has paid its final respects to a great Dane who found Valhalla in a village near Bordon.

Torben Houlberg brought Scandinavian efficiency to St Matthew’s as the “fun” and “charming” accountant balanced the books for Blackmoor church and the village hall.

He and his wife of 57 years also sowed the seeds for the Friends of St Matthews and determinedly oversaw the rebuilding of its sinking chancel floor.

Born in Denmark, Torben was a twin and the eldest of eight siblings, with his Nordic name translating into thunder and bear.

The name implies strength and power and he showed those qualities throughout his life, not least with the Royal Navy where he met his wife Tricia whilst on a gunnery course at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth.

After completing his Naval career in his native Denmark his family moved to Horsham where Torben qualified as a chartered accountant. He was superb with numbers, getting a job with prestigious accountants Price Waterhouse in Copenhagen, before spells at firms in Devon and Dorset.

His final move to Whitehill in 2013 proved a Godsend to the local community as he became firmly involved in the church and hall.

He assisted with grant applications for Blackmoor village hall, playing a part in heating and acoustic improvements, and oversaw much of the admin. He will be remembered for his kindness, sense of fair play, sense of humour and fun – not to mention his Viking good looks.

The “lovely” dog walker with his ever-present border terrier Tiggy touched many lives around Blackmoor and Whitehill in a short time. The great man was 81 when he died on Easter Sunday, welcomed with Thor’s thunder and lightning.

It will take a long time to repair the hole in the community he has left behind.