TRIBUTES have been paid to one of Darlington's most successful horticulturalist, who has died aged 86.

William Florentine, of Geneva Drive, who died on Tuesday, was known throughout the country for growing chrysanthemums.

Mr Florentine was one of few people in the country to win a silver medal from the National Chrysanthemum Society, and was a national judge.

Many of his most successful hybrid flowers were named after friends and relatives.

He leaves a son, William, and daughter, Margaret, who said: "Anybody who knows anything about chrysanthemums will know him, he has had his flowers featured in so many books and shows.

"After he finished working on the railway, he dedicated his life to his flowers, and was hugely successful when you consider he was in competition with all the big nurseries around the country

"He loved it, and did it for about 50 years. He was a very strong-minded man and will be very much missed. But his greenhouse has been left how he would have wanted it - full of chryanths."

Joe Kidd, former chairman of Darlington Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society, said: "Bill had chrysanthemums in his blood, and was probably one of the best in the north of England."