A FITTING final farewell was paid to a popular businessman who brought joy to so many people with his beautiful flowers.

Hugh Harley’s funeral cortege was driven past the family’s Joseph Harley shop in Nicolson Street, which was dressed with poignant white floral tributes.

Mr Harley recently passed away, aged 80, at Inverclyde Royal Hospital after battling ill health for some time.

The much-loved husband and father had run the successful business for 45 years, along with his father Joseph before him.

His grieving widow Anna said: "He was a loving person and he loved life.

"The business was his life, he thoroughly enjoyed it."

The company was founded as a fruiterers and florists by his father Joseph in Grosvenor Road 71 years ago.

Joseph and Hugh’s sister Anne, now Anne Jack, worked in the shop first and Hugh at that time was reluctant to join the family firm and wanted to see the world.

Anna said: "Hugh was 16 when he joined the Merchant Navy.

"His first trip lasted 18 months and he was in and around Australia.

"He was all over the world.

"I think that’s what made him so contented, that he had seen it all."When Hugh came back on leave after one of his trips, he helped out in the shop.The business moved a few times over the years but always kept a presence in Greenock.After Grosvenor Road there was a shop in Westburn Street, then High Street and then to the current premises.Hugh finally caught the bug and decided to stay and help his dad.It was a family affair, with sisters Monica and Winifred also in the business.Anna met Hugh just before she turned 18 and they were married five years later on September 22 in 1965.The newlyweds lived in Brougham Street and then for the last 35 years at Newark Street, where Anna owns Madeira Nursery.They were blessed with four sons – Desmond, Nicholas, Simon, who now runs the business, and Brendan.Hugh was father-in-law to Claire, Nicola and Denise and the family also welcomed seven grandchildren who are now aged between 23 and three years old.Anna said: "He was first and foremost a family man."When the boys were young we had a caravan in Millport."We have had a caravan there for 42 years and Hugh and all the boys used to play on the golf course there and we used to meet other families."We had a lovely social life, we have lots of happy memories."That’s been passed on to our children and our grandchildren."Although as a young man Hugh initially wasn’t keen to follow in his father’s footsteps, once he changed his mind he threw himself into the business with a passion.Anna said: "He was there before 6am for the market opening to help his dad."He was delighted when Simon took over and kept the business in the family."One very proud moment for father and son was when Joseph Harley won the title of Best Florist in Renfrewshire.Anna said: "Simon took his dad up on stage with him to receive the award."Hugh was […]