TRIBUTES have been paid to one of the stalwarts of Garstang’s Bloom team, Henry Hoyles, who died last week.
Mr Hoyles, 67, husband of Bloom team leader Mrs Norah Hoyles, was on one of his regular watering rounds at the Pat Seed garden last Wednesday when he collapsed.
The death of the popular Garstang resident has stunned his many friends in the community, who have responded with an outpouring of love to Mrs Hoyles, who has received more than 300 cards and many bouquets.
Mr Hoyles was born and brought up in Winmarleigh, attending the village primary school and Greaves Secondary School, Lancaster.
He worked as a plasterer for many years, being known for his high standards.
He had been married to Norah for 44 years, the couple originally living in Catterall before moving to Garstang 40 years ago.
Mr Hoyles was constantly at his wife’s side including as mayoral consort when Mrs Hoyles served as town mayor 11 years ago.
He regularly attended the regional and national prizegiving ceremonies at which his and the rest of the Bloom team’s efforts in making Garstang England’s best floral town was recognised.
He attended the ceremony in Split, Croatia, two years ago, when Garstang triumphed in the Entente Floral Europe and accompanied Mrs Hoyles last year to a Royal Horticultural Society gathering where she was given her personal ‘champion’ award.
Another memorable event was a visit to Buckingham Palace in 2008 when Mrs Hoyles was awarded the MBE by the Queen.
Mr Hoyles, a former member of Garstang Wine Circle, had been involved in Garstang in Bloom for many years, increasing his involvement over the past 10 years, and taking a prominent part in the watering routine. He was regularly seen around the town, with his trailer and water container in tow, watering the plants and displays.
Mrs Hoyles said: “He loved what he did ... he did a lot in the background which people didn’t know about, painting brackets, drying and sorting bulbs in our garage.”
She added Mr Hoyles had been due to accompany her later this year to St Andrew’s, Scotland, where Garstang’s Bloomers will find out how the town has fared in the 2011 ‘champions’ contest, and to Quebec, Canada, to see how Garstang has fared in the international ‘Communities in Bloom’ competition.
Speaking at her Moss Lane home on Monday, Mrs Hoyles said: “It is the first time I have been out today. People have stopped me so many times and hugged me.”
She said she would continue to lead the Garstang bloom team, but added “I won’t be able to do as much as I did, as Henry helped me so much.”
Mr Hoyles is survived by Norah, their two children, Sharon of Cottam and Stephen of Forton, and three grandchildren.
A funeral service is to be held at St Thomas’s Church, Garstang, at 10am on Friday, followed by cremation at Lancaster Crematorium. During the funeral service members of the ‘Bloom’ team will wear their tunics as a mark of respect.