Tributes have been paid to the expert grower who helped pave the way for Spalding’s double gold success in East Midlands in Bloom.
John Naylor (74), of Spalding, died suddenly on Friday, leaving family including wife Ann, sons Richard and Will, daughter Sarah Dunnett and three granddaughters.
He was a hugely valued supporter of Spalding in Bloom and sports-mad John raised thousands of pounds with his car boot sales for another great love in his life, Spalding Rugby Football Club, where he was a one-time committee member.
David Sanderson, who chairs The Crescent Traders’ Association, said: “John had been for many years supplying many of us with hanging baskets and troughs – in fact much of what had been seen around the town had been produced by John.
“In recent years Spalding has twice won gold in the East Midlands in Bloom and John played a very important part in that success, always ensuring that the baskets and troughs that he supplied looked great.”
Mr Sanderson said the traders’ thoughts go out to John’s family, a sentiment shared by Spalding in Bloom chairman Coun Angela Newton.
She said: “We will all miss John.”
News of John’s death came as big shock to Coun Newton as he had been with her the previous Monday, talking about hanging baskets he fills for the town, including Springields, The Crescent and Francis Street.
John played an active part in bloom, setting up himself some of the town’s tubs and raised beds.
“He was always the first to phone those of us who attended the awards ceremony to see if we had won a gold medal and was interested in the comments the judges made,” said Coun Newton.
John spent his working life on the family farm at Holbeach Bank, and was regarded as an expert in arable farming, pig farming and horticulture.
Born at Moulton Seas End he was educated at Saracen’s Head and Spalding Grammar School before taking up a scholarship to Caythorpe Agricultural College.
John moved to Spalding in 1994, but maintained his link with horticulture through his work for the bloom team.
He played cricket in his younger days and, after he stopped playing rugby for Boston, joined Spalding Golf Club. He enjoyed successes in shooting and field trials and met the Queen when she was judging one of the field trials.
• Details of John’s funeral service will be given in Tuesday’s Lincolnshire Free Press.