FLAMBOYANT North Yorkshire businessman Guy Brudenell has been declared bankrupt with debts of £21 million.

Mr Brudenell, of Nawton, near Helmsley, had business interests in aviation, hotels and restaurants and property companies based in the UK, the Isle of Man and the British Virgin Isles.

At one time, he had shares in two of Helmsley’s leading hotels, the Feversham Arms and the Black Swan, although he sold them and has had no involvement in the hotels for some time.

He was a well-known figure in the village, where he sparked controversy by regularly landing his helicopter in the grounds of his home, Kirkdale Lodge.

And his wedding in 2005 to Pennita Wilshire – from whom he is now divorced – hit the headlines because it involved one of only two glass wedding carriages in Britain, with the other one being used on the same day by model Jordan and Peter André.

Now Mr Brudenell’s business empire has come crashing down after he was declared bankrupt at York County Court, with his affairs being handled by insolvency practitioner John Bell, of Hawdon Bell and Co of North Shields.

Mr Bell said today: “It’s a complicated case and will take many months to work through to find out the full position.”

Mr Brudenell was a director of a number of companies registered in the UK, the Isle of Man and the British Virgin Isles, many related to property. As a bankrupt, he has had to give up all his directorships.

In York, he is understood to have been involved at one stage in proposals to build student accommodation.

His aviation business, Astra Aviation Ltd, went into voluntary liquidation last month, with Paul Appleton, of David Rubin and Partners of London appointed as liquidator.

A spokesman for the firm said no assets were available for the liquidators and the main creditor was the Crown.

Documents submitted to the Official Receiver are understood to state he has declared debts of £21 million, many relating to loans, credit cards and personal guarantees and involving banks and other financial institutions.

A creditors’ meeting is to be held but the venue and date are not known.

Kirkdale Lodge, given as Mr Brudenell’s address by the insolvency practitioners, was placed on the market more than two years ago, when it was priced at £1.3 million.

Jill and Simon Rhatigan, owners of the Feversham Arms Hotel &Verbena Spa, said in a statement that Guy Brudenell had been a minority shareholder in the hotel and spa until March 2009, when he sold his shares. They said they no longer had any connection with him.

A spokeswoman for the Black Swan said Mr Brudenell had been a shareholder in the past but had had no connection with it for some considerable time, and the hotel was unaffected by his bankruptcy.

Pennita Wilshire Brudenell, 29, is divorced from Mr Brudenell and her fashion boutiques in Helmsley and Northallerton, called Pennita, are not affected by his bankruptcy. She did not wish to comment.

The Press was unable to contact Mr Brudenell for comment.

The fairy-tale wedding that hit the headlines

THESE were happy, even fairy-tale times for Guy Brudenell, long before the good life ended in financial disaster.

It was the day he married Pennita Wilshire in September, 2005, the day she arrived at All Saints’ Church, Helmsley, in a sparkling Cinderella-style glass carriage – a replica of one that model Jordan used for her wedding to Peter Andre at exactly the same time.

The carriage was brought from Norfolk for the occasion.

The bride walked to the church from the carriage on a purple carpet, while guests were given just one word for the dress code on their invitations – glamorous.

The vicar, the Rev David Wilbourne, said the wedding was one of the most spectacular that Helmsley had seen.

“The carriage was just like in the story of Cinderella when the pumpkin is turned into the glass coach,” he said. “It was what the bride wanted for the day. The church was very full and it was good to be here for it.”

High flier forced down to earth

GUY Brudenell has been very much a key figure in Helmsley, but he has not always been appreciated by everyone in the town.

Some may have been impressed by the entrepreneur’s fabulous home, Kirkdale Lodge in nearby Nawton, which has its own cricket pitch and was up for sale in April 2007 for £1.3 million.

But back in June 2006 the villagers were not so impressed about his private helicopter landing in his garden, particularly at weekends and they formally objected. The roar, they claimed, was making their lives a misery.

Mr Brudenell was legally entitled to land there but offered a compromise –a new helipad about 170 metres away, well north of the village centre. This was still regarded as unacceptable by Nawton Parish Council, but it was overruled by experts at Ryedale District Council, which approved the plan.

The businessman also ruffled some feathers when he railed at suggestions being made to improve Helmsley involving Village Design Statements, a Government initiative supported by local councils.

He argued that details of issues like the size of a sign or height of rooflines were planning matters “and will be dealt with by people far more qualified to comment than a loose knit group of meddlers”.

And he urged people who did not like what was happening in their local town or village to “get off your backsides and make a difference yourselves – not through moaning and trying to pull businesses down, but by investing in the area you live in. Put your money where your mouth is – start a business, employ local people, take a risk yourself. This is what will create positive change”.

This provoked a flurry of responses in the letters column of The Gazette & Herald, accusing him of insulting comments and lack of respect.

Charity close to entrepreneur’s heart

IT WAS perhaps the most publicised event that Guy Brudenell had ever experienced – his “leap of faith” from a plane at the same time as Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.

The parachute jump at 12,500 ft with the archbishop in May last year was to generate funds for the Afghanistan Trust, one of the charities dear to Mr Brudenell’s heart.

The trust helps support soldiers and their families who have served with the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan who have been wounded or killed. Mr Brudenell has many friends in the armed forces after being sponsored through university by the 14/20th Kings Hussars, now the King's Royal Hussars, on a three-year short service commission.

He had planned to attend Sandhurst military academy, but was reportedly medically discharged after suffering a spinal injury playing rugby.

But every year he tried to complete a dangerous or extreme sport in the name of the charity, including bungee jumping over the Victoria Falls on the Zambian border and running the London Marathon.

He was at a dinner to raise money for a new academy in Hull, when Dr Sentamu agreed to do the parachute jump with him.

The dinner was reportedly organised by Kevin Linfoot, the Yorkshire developer whose business has since also crashed.