LONDON (GN)  Botanist and broadcaster David Bellamy has died aged 86, the Conservation Foundation he formed has said.

London-born Bellamy, who became a household name as a TV personality, scientist and conservationist, died on Wednesday, according to the foundation. His colleague, David Shreeve, described him as a “larger-than-life character” who “inspired a whole generation”. In later life Bellamy, who lived in County Durham, attracted criticism for dismissing global warming.

In 2004 he described it as “poppycock” - a stance which he later said cost him his TV career. Bellamy worked in a sweet factory and as a plumber before embarking on his broadcasting career.

Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said Bellamy was a “brilliant naturalist, broadcaster & character”

His scientific career began when he got a job in the biology department of a technical college in Surrey, he told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs programme in 1978.

It was there that he met his future wife, Rosemary. But it was on a trip to Scotland where he discovered his love for plants, he told the programme. “I got really turned on by plants and I found out that if somebody told me what a plant was, I just couldn’t forget it,” he said.