Former Countdown contestant’s pub quizzes have raised £13,000 for charity
- Credit: Matthew Usher
A quintessential pub quizmaster has baffled his teams for the final time after concluding a monthly series of contests which have racked up more than £13,000 for local charities.
As a former schoolteacher and TV Countdown contestant, 74-year-old Geoff Hinchliffe was uniquely qualified to conduct proceedings in his home village of Shipdham, near Dereham.
He initially started running his regular brain-teasers in 2006 at the Pound Green Hotel.
After a six-month break in 2010 while he underwent treatment for prostate cancer, the quizzes continued until the hotel's closure in May 2011.
But the monthly event returned in January 2012 at the new venue of the Golden Dog pub on the village's High Street.
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Mr Hinchliffe, of Greenwood Way in Shipdham, said more health problems earlier this year had helped bring about the decision to end his quizmaster's role with Monday's final quiz in aid of the Big C cancer charity.
But he said he was proud of the generosity and dedication of the teams which had contributed to the impressive total raised for charities over the years.
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'I feel rather proud and also very grateful for the regular support we have had,' he said.
'Whatever I did we couldn't do it without people prepared to throw their money at it. I feel relieved that I will have a bit more time to myself, but also very satisfied with what we have achieved.
'I am in my 75th year so I thought it was about time I gave myself a break.'
Among the many local charities to benefit from Mr Hinchliffe's quizzes are Nelson's Journey, the Teenage Cancer Trust, Crossroads for Carers, Dereham Cancer Care and Big C.
Some of the original quiz teams have remained ever-present throughout, with names including The Golden Lemons, Not Only But Also, Daffy Green and Oracle.
'The great majority of the players are 50-plus, so I'm afraid you cannot expect questions on modern pop music or you'd be out of luck,' said Mr Hinchliffe.
'We had cryptic crossword clues, dingbats with visual clues and brain-teasers. About half of the questions came from the quiz in the Dereham and Fakenham Times [the EDP's sister paper], but I never told anyone that before now.
'I was a teacher for 30 years so I am perfectly used to standing up and controlling the mob. I have got the voice for it, and that helps – I don't need a microphone.'
Mr Hinchliffe started his teaching career in Thetford in 1962 before spending 21 years at the Royal Free Boys' School in Windsor as head of mathematics.
He worked at Hamond's High School in Swaffham from 1988 until his retirement in 1993.
In 1988, the teacher also demonstrated his own quiz pedigree when he won two episodes of TV's popular Countdown programme.