A VILLAGE turned out to celebrate the life of a much-loved Blackburn character who died aged 77.

Around 100 mourners gathered inside St Michael’s And All Angels Church, Croston, to say goodbye to Gordon Roocroft.

Tributes were paid during the funeral to a man who ‘brought smiles to so many people’s faces’, who died last Thursday after a short battle with sepsis.

The church was packed with loved ones, friends and colleagues clad in suits and ties and more casual clothing in honour of Mr Roocroft.

The service began with a welcome and opening prayers before mourners sang the hymn - Jerusalem in honour of Mr Roocroft, who volunteered at the Lancashire Telegraph and was often seen at Blackburn bus station.

David, a member of the Hodge family who were friends of Croston-born Mr Roocroft, paid tribute to a ‘brother, uncle great uncle and friend’.

He said: “Gordon was a gentleman and character, who we could talk about all day.

“He had a younger sister Trisha and was an uncle to three and great uncle to six.

“There was a warm and complimentary tribute to Gordon in the newspaper (Lancashire Telegraph) with many of the sentiments expressed about him closely mirroring our own.

“It said that Gordon was a unique person.

“A very lovable character who shared no interest in material values.

“His values were more real and honest.

“I’m proud to call you a friend and we’ll miss you.”

Reverend Michael Woods said: “Gordon brought a smile to so many people’s faces.

“You all had smiles on your faces while David talked and Gordon left a bit of himself with all of you.”

Born with learning difficulties, Mr Roocroft spent his teenage years in Brockhall Hospital.

He later moved to Accrington and worked for Accrington Brickworks.

After that he moved into the Blackburn Salvation Army where he remained for more than two decades, but he latterly resided in Kingsway Court assisted living accommodation.