ANDOVER artist and author Maxie Lane has died at the age of 104.

The sculptor – who famously cut through his meal, a table and chairs in an Andover restaurant in the 1970s because the steak was said to be tough – is survived by five sons, a daughter and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

His children told the Advertiser: “Maxie was a flawed diamond with many facets – artist, author, sculptor, a fun-loving hellraiser, bar-room brawler, prisoner, Army deserter, animal and nature lover, doting grandad and family man, totally unconventional and anti-establishment.

“He strongly believed in democracy and was actively opposed to corruption in high places.

“He was always on the side of the underdog and underprivileged and always striving for freedom and justice for the down trodden.

“He was incredibly strong – in his prime he was a heavily muscled 15 stone and could bend and snap six-inch nails with his bare hands.

“He resembled a white Mike Tyson in build, but could punch even harder, in self-defence, if faced with danger or bullies.”

Abandoned by his Irish tinker father, Maxie was left with an aunt in Bristol at a very young age before moving to Weyhill 50 years ago where he lived with wife Iris.

His experiences serving in the Army and Navy are well documented in his two autobiographical books – Running and Sea Running.

Following a longstanding love of woodwork, Maxie sculpted ornamental artworks from the trees he felled.

His mammoth sculpture – The Last Supper Table – is on permanent display at Furzey Gardens, in the New Forest, and is the largest English elm sculpture in the world.

He was also an accomplished artist and held exhibitions all over the world, including in New York and at the Ideal Home Exhibition in Olympia, in London.

His notoriety led to him being a guest on the Russell Harty and Esther Rantzen television chat shows, as well as featuring in most national newspapers.