A WELL known Hereford business is mourning the loss of its founder, who has died aged 85.

Ron Smith, who founded Ron Smith and Co Garden Machinery, died suddenly at home on Friday, June 26.

The company, which also has operations in Worcester, was set up by Mr Smith more than 50 years ago.

He is survived by his son Mark, who is a company director, as well as a daughter, Dawn.

Mark Smith said his father had been involved in the business up until his death, regularly coming in and offering help and advice.

He said: "He was coming in right up until the end. Three hours before he died he had come in had a look round.

"He was always coming in and making notes and giving advice. He will always be in my heart."

Mr Smith was born in Hanley Swan, near Malvern, before going on to set up his own business.

In 1960 he attended his first service course at RA Lister, the Cotswold-based agricultural machinery manufacturer based in Dursley.

By 1965 he was working for Worcester-based agricultural machinery company JC Baker, eventually setting up his own company in Worcester in 1967.

In the 1980s he bought land adjacent to the Worcester site and opened a new showroom, before opening a second branch in Widemarsh Street, Hereford, nearly 30 years ago. The firm's showroom is now in Rockfield Road, off Aylestone Hill, Hereford.

Mr Smith was a regular visitor to the Three Counties and Malvern shows, where he could regularly be seen showcasing his company’s wares to the public.

A new showroom in Hereford was opened in 2016 with a larger showroom, workshop and storage space in Worcester planned for the future.

Mr Smith was involved with Worcester Rotary Club for nearly 40 years, raising money for good causes throughout.

To honour Mr Smith, the club will present a memorial cup each year to the Rotarian who goes above and beyond the normal duties of a Rotarian member.

Mark added: “Dad would be very pleased and proud of this as he was a man in the background, not in the front.”

A private funeral will be held in Worcester on July 17 with a memorial service planned for next year.

Family flowers only but donations to St Richard’s Hospice (where Ron’s wife died) may be made to E J Gumery & Son, 68/70 Ombersley Road, Worcester.