A community fund is to be set up in memory of Christopher Self, chairman of Lacock’s Whitehall Garden Centre, who has died, aged 76, following a heart attack.
Born and raised in the village, he managed the family-run firm for almost 40 years alongside his mother Phyllis, who died last year aged 105.
His son, Whitehall managing director Peter Self, said his father would be greatly missed, and that a trust would be established in his memory to support the Lacock community.
He said: “He was a pioneer in the garden centre industry. It was a fledgling industry in the 1970s, but he drove the business forward, and we now are one of the leading family-owned independent garden centres in the UK, and he was instrumental in setting it up.
“Even when he was busy with work he always found time for his garden. He was from a farming background. He always referred to himself as a farmer, and he was always interested in plants.
“I am managing director of the business, and with my wife Claire we will continue to run it as a family business. We have two daughters who are interested in the business, and will be the fourth generation.”
Twice-married, Christopher Self had three children, two step-children, six grandchildren and two step-grandchildren, many of whom live in Chippenham.
Mr Self suffered a heart attack on April 7, and underwent a triple heart bypass at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, but died peacefully on May 22.
He had served as president of the Lacock Allotment Club, and was involved with the village’s history and camera clubs.
His son said: “When he had his heart attack he didn’t turn up for work one Monday morning, and we found out he had gone off to hospital in Bath.
“We haven’t finalised the details yet, but we hope to set up a memorial trust in my father’s memory, which will go to support clubs and organisations in the parish of Lacock.”
His funeral will take place today (Thursday) at 11am at St Cyriac’s Church in Lacock.