(1943 – 2019)
It has to be said that Geoff was well-liked by everyone and that was perhaps because of his unmistakable nature. He took others at face value and expected nothing less in return.
Anybody that has had first-hand experience of Geoff will know that he was a well-versed character and a straight talker, who would undoubtedly let you know if you were in the wrong or at fault, but always putting a humorous slant on the issue. His knowledge on a large variety of topics was immense and there will be quite a few people that will miss their chats with him, which could go on for hours.
One of his great loves was Scouting and the First New Cross (The Greys) Scout Group in particular. Geoff started in Scouting as a Cub Scout himself and progressed into leadership with almost 50 years’ service. He was a leader trainer in the old Deptford District, holding the post of Assistant Scout Leader, Scout Leader and Group Scout Leader at the First New Cross, undertaking the role of Secretary and Treasurer at the same time in the latter role. On his retirement he concentrated on the role of Group Treasurer and continued with his other great project of being the Group Archivist, a selection of which he proudly put on show at the Group Centenary Celebration in 2008.
Geoff was a very organised person, who ensured that everything was correct and documented, right down to the last detail, which the completed volumes of our archives will attest to. Geoff was very “old school” in many of his approaches and shortly prior to his passing, he actually took the step to get himself an email address, something he said he would never do. In tune with his Scouting connection the email address included his Scout name of Beaver. Sadly he never got to use it very much.
He was very proud to be a part of the Group that is quite possibly the oldest surviving Group in the World and of the fact that he was the first GSL in the District to allow girls into the Group when the Scout Association took the decision to include girls in January 1991.
Geoff was a generous individual who never boasted about what he put into the Group. When we spoke at a Trustees meeting about obtaining new Scout flags for each section in the Group, he paid for them personally and entered it into the accounts as an anonymous donation. It is with pride that one of these flags adorns Geoff today. There have been other things that he did this with too, the latest of which was to pay for the balance of the new floor being laid in our headquarters, again referenced as an anonymous donation. It is truly rare to find a person who was so dedicated to a particular institution, but we had one in Geoff.
A colleague in Scouting on hearing of Geoff’s passing wrote, one of the nicest things to come out of Thameside District’s brief encounter with the Deptford Groups was the meetings with Geoff. I knew little about him at first, but he brought a charm, dignity and humour to the room. He was a wise man who thought carefully before speaking and brought a warmth and old fashioned charm to the conversation.
One of Geoff’s other great achievements within Scouting was his involvement in the County Gang Show which was very successful and held annually at Lewisham Theatre for many years, where he adequately took on the role of Stage Manager, with the scenery for the shows being made at our Group headquarters. His involvement continued until the County’s decision to discontinue the show, which Geoff was very sad about.
Geoff was decorated by the Scout Association with a number of service awards throughout his Scouting life, with his latest two being his 40 year service award, awarded in October 2010 and The Bar to the Silver Acorn, awarded in April 2014.
Geoff supported the Group and its Leaders in everything that we did and where possible helped to make things easier for us, from Scouting to our personal lives, the support was always there. Geoff has touched the lives of a huge amount of people in one way or another and he will be sorely missed.
Rest in Peace Geoff.