ONE of the borough’s best-known businessmen has died in hospital.

David Grogan, 92, was renowned for his greengrocer’s shop on Bastwell Road, Blackburn, and for his generosity in the community.

He lived on Whalley Road and had also owned shops in Whalley Range and Darwen.

Son Michael, 54, said: “Even when he came out of business, everybody still knew my dad because of how he was and who he was. He was small in height but huge in character, huge in every way.”

David also leaves wife Mavis, 86, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was also father to David James, who died in 2018 at the age of 67.

David senior’s life was one of many twists and turns and yet through it all he retained a strong connection to the community that raised him.

After seeing action in the Second World War, he worked as a driver before opening his first shop in 1958.

This business would not prove to be as enduring as the shops that would later make his name, however, and David left to work for electronics company DER before a workplace injury left him with a broken back.

Though told he would never walk again, David proved doctors wrong by not only getting back on his feet, but founding his second greengrocer’s shop that customers in Blackburn would come to know and love in 1965.

Michael said: “Everyone compared him to Arkwright in Open All Hours because originally the shop in the programme didn’t have Arkwright’s written in front, it had Maid Marian and dad’s shop also had Maid Marian.

“He had everything, the hat and the big brown coat, the only thing about him that wasn’t similar to Arkwright was that he didn’t stutter.”

David’s generosity was particularly illustrated one Christmas when Michael was just a child, and his dad sold some of his own Christmas gifts to a long-distance lorry driver who had been unable to get home in time to prepare for the season.

Michael said: “We always used to laugh about it, we’d say ‘Dad, you sold our Christmas presents!’”

David has left donations to cancer and lifeboat charities.

Reflecting on how his father will be remembered, Michael said: “It was a small greengrocer’s, but the way people talked about it, it was the size of Tesco.”