The family of well-known and respected farmer Richard Tacon, who has died aged 79, have paid tribute to him.

Mr Tacon was a keen farmer and well-known for his pick-your-own strawberries, asparagus and enthusiasm for the sport of sailing.

He died on Sunday, January 22 following a cancer diagnosis last March.

The Rollesby resident was well-known in the farming fraternity and in the Great Yarmouth area.

Mr Tacon's widow Sarah and oldest son Charles described him as a "dedicated family man" who was always willing to share advice and give his time to those in need.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Richard Tacon (right) with grandson James and wife Sarah.Richard Tacon (right) with grandson James and wife Sarah. (Image: The Tacon Family)

Born on April 24, 1943, during a German air raid in Great Yarmouth, Mr Tacon is said to have been lucky to make it through the night. Flying glass following a bombardment had left his mother badly cut.

He grew up in Rollesby - the place he would always call home - and was described by his son as a "Norfolk boy through and through".

Mr Tacon studied at Duncan Hall prep school in Scratby before boarding at Old Buckenham Hall and later Gresham's in Holt.

During his time at Gresham's school, Mr Tacon was introduced to sailing and there began a lifelong love of the sport.

"He absolutely loved racing," said Mrs Tacon.

"It was what inspired him to help set up the Rollesby Sailing Club when he was older."

Mr Tacon studied agriculture at Writtle University College in Essex and once he had graduated, he and a friend embarked on a year-long adventure around Canada and the west coast of America. 

However, home soon came calling and Mr Tacon returned to Rollesby ready to get stuck in. At first, he worked as a fieldsman for Birds Eye - a job, Mrs Tacon said, that allowed Mr Tacon to find all the best pubs in the county.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Richard Tacon at a Tacon family reunion.Richard Tacon at a Tacon family reunion. (Image: The Tacon Family)

He and Mrs Tacon married at Norwich Cathedral in 1970. Shortly after, he took over an acre of land and began his farming career.

After a challenging time as pig farmers, the Tacons tried their hand at growing asparagus which they began selling to nearby residents from their kitchen.

"It was a marvellous time," said Mrs Tacon.

"We went from one acre of asparagus to 25, and from the kitchen sink to the Co-op, Roy's and local pubs and restaurants."

By the 1980s, the Tacon family - which now included sons Charles and Tom and daughter Sophie - had opened their pick-your-own strawberry fields, which went on to become the most profitable acre on the farm.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Richard Tacon in 1943. Pictured with his mother Pauline.Richard Tacon in 1943. Pictured with his mother Pauline. (Image: Tacon Family Collection)

"We branched out and started doing the same thing with raspberries," Charles said. "It was wildly popular, when the weather was good anyway.

"I remember one wet summer, the whole family were out picking all day just to get the crops out to sell."

In 1972, Mr Tacon brought his passion for sailing to the area and opened the Rollesby Sailing Club. The club celebrated its 50th-anniversary last year.

After he had retired from racing, he kept a boat on the Broads and took his family out several times a year.

In recent years, Mr Tacon restored an Enterprise vessel and bought his grandchildren a Laser to pass down the love of the sport.

Mr Tacon was also very involved with the village church, playing instigator for repairs to the heating, lighting and roof.

Always community-minded, Mr Tacon served as chairman of Rollesby Parish Council for over three decades.

"He was always putting himself out," said Charles. "He would do anything to help those who needed it.

"He was always ready to give advice and he gave his time to his family.

"Before he passed away, Dad said he said he still had lots to do.

"I reassured him that he'd lived a very full life and he did all he could. I hope he was proud. We are all very proud of him."

Mr Tacon is survived by his wife Sarah, their children Charles, Tom and Sophie, and seven grandchildren.

His funeral will be held at St George's Church, Rollesby, on Tuesday, February 21 at 1.30pm. Details on his wake will be announced at the service.