A TERMINALLY ill man whose family were at the centre of a row over their award-winning garden in Llanover, near Abergavenny has died after a long-illness.

David Rolfe, 51, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in June 2012, died at his new home in Abergavenny on Saturday.

Mr Rolfe and his wife Elaine, 50, were tenants at Ochran Mill, Llanover for 11 years until last month when they moved to Abergavenny as his illness became worse.

Last week, Mrs Rolfe said she was deeply upset to be told by their landlord that she must remove the plants from their garden or pay a clearance bill of up to £5,000.

Trustees of Llanover Estate have since said the couple are valued members of the community and will not be asked to pay a penny for the garden, which they say has deteriorated.

Mrs Rolfe, of Whites Close, paid tribute to her husband whom she met 18 years ago.

She said: "He was a loving and caring father of our eight children and to the 25 foster children we have helped over the last eight years. He was a dedicated and hands-on father who had a big heart."

Mr Rolfe, a web-designer before becoming a full-time foster carer, was a keen mountain biker and pinball enthusiast, amassing a collection of more than 30 machines.

He was a former governor at Llanover Primary School, where his children attended until its closure in 2010, and founded the Welsh Classic Pinball Open five years ago which was held at his home, attracting around 60 players from around the world.

He competed in tournaments in France and Ireland and in 2010 was ranked number 40 in the UK’s list of top pinball wizards.

He was passionate about music and could regularly be found in his shed maintaining his pinball machines and fixing computers.

Friends are invited to attend a service at Gwent Crematorium, Cwmbran at 2.30pm on April 2. The family has requested no formal wear, jeans and T-shirt preferred, and afterwards at Llanover Village Hall. No flowers, donations to St David’s Hospice Care.

He leaves behind wife Elaine, 50 and children Abbie, 14, Daniel, 15, Harry, 17, Jack, 20, Tom, 22, Jenny and Lily, both 24, and Joe, 25.