One of the most recognizable and well-loved faces in Alford sadly passed away on Sunday.
Ron Broomfield, who was known by most as ‘Ron the Gnome’ was a well-loved and popular figure in the market town of Alford and was famed for his fascination for collecting gnomes at his home in Alford, called ‘Gnome Cottage’ and was regularly seen in the town dressed as a gmome.
His huge collection of gnome paraphernalia saw his quirky collection of almost 2,000 gnomes feature regularly in the national and local media, and television documentaries.
Ron, who was in his 80s used his passion and collection of gnomes, amassed over more than 50 years, to help raise money for charity and regularly dressed up as his favourite gnomes, in order to collect money for the NSPCC.
Speaking previously to the Skegness Standard, Ron said: “I help raise money for lots of local charities, particularly the NSPCC but also Help for Heroes and Lincolnshire Troop Support, which helps wounded soldiers in a Birmingham hospital.”
Ron was also more than happy to welcome visitors into his cottage, which attracted interest from all over the nation.
The local ‘Rainbow Group’ also attend regularly to admire the happy, smiling faces at Ron’s home.
The avid gnome collector even kept a log-book, detailing every gnome he owned and their name, and painted them in his spare room, eventually turning every room in his cottage to a shrine to the dwarfish creatures, which legend has it are supposed to guard the earth’s treasures underground.
Ron’s friends at the local craft market led the tributes to him with a post on their Facebook page, which read: “We were very sorry to hear that our friend and helper Ron the Gnome had passed away. He had become so much a part of Alford Craft Market over the years and his colourful personality and good humour will be greatly missed by all of us.”
Alan Whitcombe who sits on Alford Parish Council and is a local businessman in the town and regularly supported Ron’s charitable deeds, said: “l have known Ron for the last eight years since I opened my Sweetshop in Alford.
in that time he has been the best ambassador Alford haS had.
He came to all events to welcome visitors and collect money for the NSPCC and he was always happy and brought a smile to most faces.
He will be sorely missed and impossible to replace.”
“His collection of 1750 odd gnomes is the second biggest in the UK as far as I know, he appeared on TV several times and has an Alan Titchmarsh gnome from when he was on his show.
“He had been in Sutton Lodge Care Home since Christmas and they looked after him well,” added Mr Whitcombe.
No date has yet been arrange for Mr Broomfield’s funeral.
It is thought Ron wished to be cremated in one of his gnome costumes.
If you have any fond memories of Ron, please post your tributes to the Skegness and Spilsby Standard or the Louth Leader, as well as the Skegness Standard or Louth’s Facebook pages or email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a tweet to @StandardLeeC.