The sight of a pensioner dressed as a native American may have drawn a few funny looks in Wimbledon High Street.

But Dennis Grinsted is, in fact, the real thing.

The 72-year-old, who lives in Wimbledon Village, proudly claims to be only the third white person to be accepted as an honorary Apache by the Chiricahuas tribe in Arizona.

Mr Grinsted gave a talk at Wimbledon Guild on April 12, where he recounted his incredible journey, which started as a typical childhood fascination with cowboys and Indians.

Known within his adopted tribe as “Wolf”, he said: “I don’t how to explain myself other than I am an Indian in a white man’s body – this is who I am and my life journey has been about realising that.

"It started when I met Geronimo’s great-great- great-granddaughter, Anne Skidmore.

"I would volunteer at the Apache Indian museum in Arizona every year for three or four weeks.

"The sixth time I visited, I was invited to attend a ceremony where the witch doctor called me into the middle of a circle of Apache Indians and announced I had been accepted in their tribe.

"They named me ‘Bar-Cho’, which means ‘wolf’ in their language, and I’ve never looked back."

His house, in Camp Road, is full of native American artwork, artefacts, literature, and he admits his friends and family have found it unusual when they see him in traditional dress.

He added: "My wig is from a traditional wig-maker and it cost well over £100.

"All my face paints are authentic too.

"People ask me questions about it all the time. I was talking to Boris Becker during a recent Easter egg hunt in the village and even he was admiring what I was wearing."

And, unsurprisingly, Mr Grinsted’s favourite film is Dances with Wolves, which he has seen more than 300 times.

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