Popular Stourbridge businessman Geoff Hill dies at 91

Geoff Hill with his wife Sue (Picture: Geoff Hill Charitable Trust)

Geoff Hill, the popular Stourbridge businessman who donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to good causes, has died at the age of 91.

He passed away at his home in Lawnswood near Wordsley, yesterday.

His well-known shop Geoff Hill Limited has been in business in Amblecote since 1960.

He opened the store in his early 30s, selling household appliances and electrical goods from desk fans to televisions, after realising he had a knack for sales while working as a vacuum engineer for Hoover.

In retirement, he endeared himself to the local community as a philanthropist and was awarded an MBE in 2004 for his generosity and charity work, which saw him donate well over £500,000 to local good causes through his own foundation, the Geoff Hill Charitable Trust, as well as personally raising more than a million pounds for charity from his own fundraising efforts.

The trust, which was founded 22 years ago, is funded by 10% of the profits of the shop, as well as the money made from renting out two commercial properties in the Dudley borough.

It awards grants to needy Black Country not-for-profit groups, many of whom receive no funding from other sources.

In 2016, he was quoted as saying: "What's the point of having the money if you are not going to help people with it?”

On its Facebook page, the trust confirmed his death in a statement, but reiterated that the trust would continue its work into the future.

"It is with great sadness to annouce the passing of Geoff Hill MBE age 91 at home peacefully on 8th November," it said.

"He will be missed by all who knew him, he leaves behind his legacy of his Charitable Trust which will continue in his name as normal."

One of the trust’s many beneficiaries was Cal4U, a local charity set up in aid of Norton resident Callum Loveridge, who sustained life changing spinal injuries in a BMX biking accident as a teenager in 2010.

Callum's father Adrian posted on Facebook that the news of Mr. Hill's death was "very sad" and that his "thoughts are with [Geoff's wife] Sue and his family at this sad time.

"Geoff was very kind to put us under the Geoff Hill Charitable Trust to launch Cal4U," he added.

Not-for-profit music organisation Gig Caritas is made up of professional singers and musicians who volunteer their time to put on concerts, before donating the proceeds to charities.

Its spokesman David Herrington described Mr. Hill as a "star in the sky", adding: "When those stars fade, one by one, the universe is a little colder.

"If you have more than you need, be like Geoff. He was a true star, and will not be forgotten."

Mr. Hill's original shop was on Brettell Lane but it quickly proved too small due to his business’s surging popularity and he soon bought the supermarket next door to more than treble his available floor space.

It later relocated just around the corner to its current site on Amblecote High Street in 1981.

His motto "Best Price, Best Choice, Best Service... Always" was central to his ethos, which was reflected in his commitment to providing a positive and caring attitude towards his customers.

This approach has been credited as one of the reasons the store has lasted the test of time despite intense competition from larger chains such as Comet, Currys, Dixons and Rumbelows, which all enjoyed significant expansion and widespread success between 1965 and 1990, followed by the rise of many more competitors online in more recent years.

The exact cause of Mr. Hill's death has not yet been revealed, but his health was known to have declined in recent years and he had been wheelchair bound for the last few months.

His funeral will be held at Holy Trinity Church in Wordsley at 11:00am on Tuesday 20th November.


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