A CAMPAIGNER who battled to brighten up Monmouth with floral displays has died at the age of 80.

Pensioner Jack Roocroft was well-known for driving around town in his vintage tractor and for placing hanging baskets and flower tubs around the town.

Mr Roocroft, of Troy Way, was the son of a Lancashire farmer, who despite losing the sight in one eye after being attacked by a gang of boys with a stone and suffering hearing loss, went on to become a self-made millionaire.

He left school at the age of ten, taking on a range of jobs and later went to work for the family business Roocroft Fencing Limited which built the UK’s first motorway, the Preston bypass, the A449 between Monmouth and Coldra and the Heads of the Valleys Road.

Mr Roocroft liked the area so much he settled on a farm in Trellech in the 1970s with his second wife and became a father of six, after adopting two grandchildren and bringing them up as his own.

He was forced to sell the farm during the recession in the 1990s, retiring from farming and moved to Troy Way.

Mr Roocroft was passionate about flowers and hit the headlines in 2008 when he spent his winter fuel allowance on buying and cultivating seeds and plants in order to brighten up the town’s toilet block by covering the roof with flowers.

He was also behind the town’s second prize in the small town category of Wales in Bloom in 1999.

Most recently he turned a plot of derelict land into an allotment, growing vegetables and fruit crops, which he gave to the needy.

Agricultural businessman, Frank Sutton of Raglan, described Mr Roocroft as a man of his word.

"If you owed him a shilling he’s soon return it. I even sold him a tractor, that he is so well known for driving around town on," said Mr Sutton.

Local archaeologist Stephen Clarke said he loved Monmouth and was always trying to improve the appearance for the benefit of the community.

"While he often went about things like a bull in a china shop, his heart was always in the right place," said Mr Clarke.

"There are not many colourful characters left in this world like old Jack," he added.

Debbie McCarty, Monmouthshire council’s central area officer said: "He was a real character in the town who truly made Monmouth what it is. We all shall sadly miss him and the town will not seem the same without his colourful personality being among us."

Mr Roocroft died at Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny on Tuesday following a short illness.

A date has yet to be arranged for Mr Roocroft's funeral.