Helmut von Bräundle-Falkensee

Austrian aristocrat, humanitarian, Scottish laird and whisky expert Born: 31 August, 1950, in Vienna. Died: 14 October, 2007, in Vienna, aged 57.

COLONEL Professor Helmut von Brundle-Falkensee was a learned and colourful Austrian chevalier who devoted his life to caring for refugees, promoting heraldry, enjoying whisky and leading the Order of St Joachim. He was a writer and publisher, and became a Scots laird.

Somewhat dogged by ill-health through his life – long-term illness caused his early death – von Brundle-Falkensee used his privilege of independent means to devote his life to the pursuit of charitable and humanitarian causes. He served as delegate to the United Nations for the Vienna office of the International Association of Educators for World Peace and was honorary vice-president of the volunteer Commonwealth organisation the Legion of Frontiersmen.

His greatest accomplishment was the founding of the Austrian Albert Schweitzer Society (ASG) in 1984, supporting the work of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambarn, Gabon. The society, a Christian, humanitarian, non-political aid group, now numbers about 600 volunteer members worldwide, has recognition from the UN and UNESCO as a non- governmental-organisation, and operates delegations in Luxembourg, Sweden, Malaysia, India, Nepal and Alaska.

As hands-on secretary-general of ASG, von Brundle-Falkensee worked his board to target medical development assistance with speed and accuracy, using a motto that became a watchword: "Who helps quickly helps twice", and moved swiftly to become a working partner with the Red Cross and German religious orders including St Lazarus-Hilfswerk. In 1990, in recognition of his work, he received an Apolostolic Blessing from Pope John Paul II.

His Excellency Colonel Professor Chevalier Helmut Brundle-Falkensee GCJ, FMA, MEASc, Grand Master of the Order of St Joachim and The Much Honoured the Laird of Bladnoch and Lochanbards was not conspicuously short of honours or recognition. He appears in the tenth edition of the Who's Who of Intellectuals, and was an accomplished heraldic artist and the recipient of several distinctions of orders of chivalry.

Grand Master of the Order of St Joachim since 1988, he took particular pride in an order, founded in 1755, that in 1801 made Nelson a knight in gratitude following victory in the Battle of the Nile.

Fascinated all his life by Scotland, he donated largesse to the Royal Museum of Scotland, gained the lairdship of Bladnoch in Wigtownshire, and founded the Austrian Scotch Whisky Museum at Steyregg.

He was a member of the Royal Stewart Society and Club Claymore, and an honorary member of the First Leiblach Valley Pipes and Drums, a pipe band in his native Austria.

In 1974 he married Johanna, Countess of Polzer-Hoditz and Wolframitz. He is survived by his wife and children, Martin-Alexander and Christiane-Manon.