A dedicated grandfather who “quietly went about helping” almost every group, organisation, and committee in his local area has died aged 86. 

The patriarch of his family, Geoff Green’s death will leave a hole in the lives of the hundreds of people he came across throughout his various roles. 

From being an integral member of campaigns to promote and protect his home area of Costessey, to bringing joy to children by dressing as Father Christmas and treating his grandchildren to Parisian holidays, his legacy is impactful.

Eastern Daily Press: Geoff GreenGeoff Green (Image: Courtesy of Green family)

Geoffrey William Green was born on October 19 in Gravesend, Kent, in 1936. His brother, Anthony, was four years older and had impaired sight. His father, William, was a retired soldier, and his mother Vera, was well known in the town for her swimming prowess, having once swum the Thames from Gravesend to Southend – around 15 miles. 

His grandfather was headmaster of the church school and churchwarden of the parish church where a young Geoffrey was baptised.  

In 1940, his father was recalled to the army when war was declared and, along with his mother and Anthony, they were evacuated to Barnstaple, Devon, returning to Gravesend after two years.  

He had a narrow escape towards the end of the war when a V2 - a ballistic missile used by the Germans during the Second World War - fell behind a row of shops he was cycling past.  

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Despite windows falling out and sheds fences and roofs being blown into the air, he managed to pedal home furiously through the flying debris to safety.  

Eastern Daily Press: Geoff GreenGeoff Green (Image: Courtesy of Green family)

Aged eight, he joined the Christ Church choir, and this is where he first fell in love with singing and church music. He went on several Royal School of Church Music courses and holidays and sang in many cathedrals around the country including Canterbury and Westminster Abbey.  

He also began swimming lessons around this time, and it became another great interest which saw him go on to win many gala prizes.  

He passed the entrance examination to Gravesend Grammar school where he excelled in swimming, as well as rugby and French. He also sang in several Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, both female and male roles. 

From the age of 12, he visited Paris many times where he would stay with family friends. He became fluent and completed a short course at the Sorbonne at the University of Paris before he left school.  

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He went on to take the Higher Civil Service exam but was called up for two years National Service, signing up instead to do three years with the RAF. He had hoped to travel during this time, but his plans were thwarted, and he never moved from his first posting in Stafford despite various attempts. This included volunteering for the 1957 Christmas Island nuclear testing and he even missed going to Suez by being on leave when the 1956 crisis happened.  

During this time though, he played rugby for his base and was incredibly involved at the Church of Saint Mary in Stafford with the choir and helping with the youth club. 

Eastern Daily Press: Geoff GreenGeoff Green (Image: Courtesy of Green family)

Upon leaving the RAF, he was appointed to HM Treasury and commuted daily on the same train as his future wife, Maureen. They knew each other from church and the grammar schools combined sixth form ballroom dancing classes. Romance blossomed and they married in October 1959. 

They moved into a flat in south London, before Mr Green left the treasury and joined his wife working for the BBC. They eventually saved enough to buy a house in Gravesend and took jobs closer to home as commuting became tedious. 

After their daughter Lucie was born in 1962, Mr Green, who played rugby for the BBC and the Old Gravesendians, suffered a severe head injury and gave up playing. He then decided to apply for jobs outside the London area and took one with Norfolk County Council’s (NCC) Highways Department.  

In 1963, the family moved to Farmland Road in New Costessey, Norwich, and two years later a son, Robin, was born. 

Mr Green joined the Civil Defence as a volunteer in the Rescue Section during the Cold War and began studying for a degree in Municipal Administration. After obtaining his degree, he was promoted to admin assistant. After six years with NCC, he was appointed senior admin assistant with Mitford and Launditch Rural District Council (RDC) - an old grouping of parishes in Norfolk – and travelled daily to Dereham.  

A series of promotions followed and when Local Government was re-organised in 1971, he became the deputy clerk for RDC before becoming deputy district administrator for Breckland District Council.  

He became an electoral officer for Breckland and handled elections in the district. He was also a member of the Association of Electoral Administrators and vice-chair of the eastern branch. He became a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.  

He retired in 1993. 

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Since moving to Norfolk, he had become very involved in Costessey life, undertaking a variety of roles in several groups and organisations including: Costessey Parish Council, Action'66, Costessey Action Group, Farmland Road Action Group, Costessey Day Care Centre, St John Timberhill's parochial church, tennis club chair, Friends of Costessey High School, Men's Fellowship, Costessey Plan Brochure committee, two Gyles, Costessey Church PCC, churchwarden, youth club helper, Costessey Gymkhanas steward, a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator, Costessey Toad Watch member, a cycling proficiency officer, listened to children read, act as a relief lollypop man, and was Father Christmas at an annual bazaar. 

With his wife, he volunteered at the Maddermarket Theatre for more than 40 years as steward, bartender, gardener, trustee, and served on the Board. He became a Catholic in 2017.  

Over the years he sang with St Helen’s Choir, Costessey Singers, Faverham Singers, St Clement at Fye Bridge Choir The Tonics, Sine Nomine, St Walstan's church choir and latterly Eaton Choral Society.  

He also did daily school runs for his grandchildren - Emily, Benjamin, Samuel, Joseph, Tobias, and Nathaniel – and took them each on a trip to Paris when they turned nine.  

His daughter, Lucie Ruddock, said: “He was a man who very quietly went about helping people, organisations, and institutions in any way he could.  

“He has been described by many as a true gentleman and friend.” 

Mr Green died on January 11. 

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