'Our Geoff' who helped launch 1,000 business dreams has died
Geoff Reeves, the driving force behind Blackpool Council’s Get Started service which helps people launch their own businesses, died suddenly at Blackpool Victoria Hospital last week.
The former general manger of Coca Cola in the UK, who grew up on Grange Park estate, had retired from his role as a business advisor in August last year.
He was described today as a man passionate about his home town, an enthusiastic force for good and an inspiration with a wonderful sense of humour.
After 28 years of working with Coca Cola, Geoff, a keen scuba diver, decided to start his own business. He trained as a scuba instructor and set up his own water sports centre in Poulton, H2OSport and Marine.
After eight years he teamed up with the Princes Trust and Blackpool Council to launch the business advice service that became Get Started.
Former Blackpool South Labour MP, Gordon Marsden, said he was devastated to hear of the news particularly as Geoff had fought a long running battle with cancer for many years but had been in good health recently.
He said: “I knew Geoff very well for more than ten years. He was the inspiration behind Get Started and had a fantastic career.
"He was literally responsible for hundreds of people in Blackpool getting their first step on the ladder of business.
"He was a very warm, positive and life-enriching person, a great servant to Blackpool and deserves to be remembered fondly. I want to offer my condolences to his family and many friends.”
Coun Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Job Creation with Blackpool Council said: “I had the privilege of working with Geoff for many years and he will be sadly missed by everyone.
“He retired from the council last summer leaving behind a legacy of small businesses who were inspired, motivated and successful thanks to his support and encouragement. He helped hundreds of local people realise their dream of starting their own business through the Get Started service.
“His positivity shone through in everything he did and was a joy to be around. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this terribly sad time.”
A Book of Condolence will be opened at FYCreatives on Church St, where many of the businesses she helped launch were based, from Monday, March 28.
On the LinkedIn social media site of council’s business advice organisation, Blackpool Unlimited, people left a flood of tributes.
Jackie Speight said: “The loveliest of men, a force of positive energy and a source of knowledge and experience like no other. Blackpool is a sadder place without him, but is a better place for him having been here.”
Tracey Clarke said: “He taught me everything I know about marketing, socks and the science of happiness! He used to pop in and see me all the time at Toyland over the five years I was there, to discuss the world, bright socks and dogs. Since then he became a business mentor to not only me but many others too.”
Coral Horn said: “Geoff was a very special man who will be missed by so many people in the business community. Heartfelt condolences to all.”
Marc Rogerson added: “I spent some time with Geoff as part of my business training and found him to an absolute gem of a human being. Blackpool will miss him so much.
Article by Blackpool Gazette (Read the full article here)