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Obituary

Geoff Hillier (Manns 1949 -1956)

Geoff died on 5 March 2021 after a 4-month fight with complications, following a Covid infection. At School he was one of the most popular boys in his year, good-humoured, friendly and full of fun.  Academically strong, he was also a good all-round sportsman, excelling at swimming at which he was better than anyone else by a considerable margin. He captained the School hockey team and played for Kent Schoolboys. Geoff always had a clear idea that he wanted to be an engineer, so he went on to study engineering at Kings College, London where he gained a good degree.

After university Geoff eventually joined the engineering consultancy Sir William Halcrow and Partners, with whom he stayed for the rest of his career. He had an interesting and varied life, including an attachment at an early stage to a Swedish engineering company in Malmo. He worked in the Middle East, Far East (including Malaysia and Hong Kong), and Greece. In Greece Geoff was involved in the relocation and re-design of Athens Airport, so he and his wife Rosemary took the opportunity to build their house, which they had planned, on the Island of Skopelos. Geoff had always been a keen sailor and now they had a base from which they could explore the Greek Islands. Living in Greece was often a bumpy ride but Geoff had a marvellous ability to overcome life’s difficulties, often refusing to accept that they existed in the first place. They lived the dream.

Geoff’s professional stock was always very high. His technical competence and management skills were greatly respected at Halcrow’s and he was extremely popular with all his colleagues. He rose to very near the top of the organisation and some felt that he deserved to go all the way. In retirement Geoff and Rosemary reorganised their lives and settled for a cottage at Alkham in Kent, and a house in Lambeth from where they could indulge their passion for the theatre, concerts, art galleries etc. Geoff’s greatest joy, however, was his daughter Charlotte and his three grandsons, whom he saw as often as possible.

Geoff was a confident, youthful man, and at 82 years old still full of plans for life after the pandemic. Humour was never far below the surface.  His glass was always half-full and he was never short of encouragement. He was one of those rare people with something extra, and also a slight whiff of danger which was one of his greatest attractions. Geoff’s demise came as a terrible shock to all who knew him.

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