Lady Astor of Hever, who has died aged 81, devoted much of her life to attempting to rehabilitate the reputation of her father, the First World War British Army Commander, Earl Haig. She was distressed when her father was portrayed as an uncaring figure who sent many soldiers to their death at the Somme.

He died when she was only eight years' old and, with her mother unwell, she was effectively brought up by her elder

sister Victoria.

During her adult life she worked with charities including the Sunshine Fund for Blind Children, of which she was chairman from 1947 until 1989.

She was the widow of the former owner of the Times newspaper, the second Baron Astor of Hever, who inherited the newspaper from his father.

The eventual sale of the Times, followed by the disposal of Hever Castle - both forced upon the family by rising costs and taxation - was a source of great sadness to Lady Astor.

During the war she worked for the Red Cross and was also involved in the Girls' Training Corps. She led a group charged with turning the garden of 145 Piccadilly, the former home of the King and Queen, into a vegetable plot.

She also ran an annual summer fete for charity at East Grinstead, East Sussex, and since 1977 had been vice-president of the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

After her husband, Gavin, died in 1984 she was made an honorary life member of the Commonwealth Press Union in 1985.

Irene, Lady Astor of Hever; born October 7, 1919, died August 12, 2001.