Like most clubs and guilds we have many members who are retired, though obviously all ages are very welcome. Inevitably, though, that means that from time to time we hear of the death of one of our own, and we all feel the loss of a friend.
That was particularly true when we learned of the passing of our Chairman, Geoff Brown, in October 2020 after a short illness. The measure of the man so many of us counted as a good friend can be seen in the many tributes which flooded in to the Spanner mailing list from around the world when this news was released. Many of us could write much more and we would all echo what is said below, but these are just some of the early reactions.
He will be greatly missed in the Meccano and Hornby fraternity: Richard Payn
A bitter blow to his friends and family, to the North Midlands Meccano Guild, and to the Meccano world as a whole. If anyone in the hobby were irreplaceable, it was he. His death leaves a hole which can never be filled. Geoff, a larger-than-life character, was a cultured man and wide-ranging in his interests and talents: Howard Somerville
The passing of another great Meccanoman and a real gentleman. He will be sorely missed: Nick Rodgers
What a loss to out small world. I never met Geoff but avidly read his excellent posts on Meccano history. He was a font of knowledge on Electrics- motors and transformers particularly. I hope that these posts are collected for future reference in his memory: Tony Press
Devastating news. Geoff was a lovely man who made me very welcome when I first went to Skegex. Since then I have met him numerous times at NMMG and HRCA events. Terrific wit, wide ranging knowledge and experience, and, above all, a lover of fine real ales!: Peter Haigh
A gentleman to his fingertips. The Meccano world has lost a true advocate for goodness, helpfulness and kindness: Ron Corry
Geoff will be sorely missed by the whole Meccano community. George Roy
I shall always remember his many contributions on Spanner, especially when it came to motors. His missives were always thorough and studious. He was kind enough to help me acquire some rare parts for my collection; he took the time to locate and post the parts to me. I had the fortune of meeting him in person during the Meccano Centennial SkegEx. He was such a gentleman! He will be missed by many in the Meccano fraternity, including by me. Madhav (“Manu”) Bhalerao Alpharetta
That is so sad, Geoff was a great supporter of the hobby and very generous with his advice, help and time for us all. Condolences to his family. I only got to meet him a handful of times at Ironbridge and other shows, but he was always very helpful and gave me advice on a Hornby clockwork engine. It was always a delight to see his Hornby & Meccano displays: Simon Bowditch
This is very sad news, Geoff’s knowledge and kindness to others can never be replaced he will be greatly missed by all in the Meccano and Hornby “0” gauge fraternity: Alan Esplen
Bless you Geoff. Heaven will be a brighter place. So sad to lose such a wise and generous man: Roger Fearnside
Very sad news indeed! I first met Geoff at Skegex 2007, when I returned for the first time since 1986. Geoff was always very helpful and friendly. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of Meccano motors (and Hornby trains of course, but that was outside my realm), so he could solve problems in a way no one else could. We shared our interest in photography, and I shared all my photos taken at Skegex right after every exhibition with him. As chief steward, he and the NMMG team made every Skegex into a wonderful event. The last years it had become more difficult to organise the event, and sadly, due to the nasty virus, Skegex 2020 had to be cancelled. Who would not remember his speeches at the dinner and his voice in the Embassy over the microphone when an announcement came: “Ladies and gentlemen, Meccano modellers, ….” Rest in peace, Geoff. Thank you for the many happy Meccano moments! Roelf and Gemmie Valkema
I did have the pleasure of meeting Geoff on one memorable occasion. A few years ago Jim Bobyn purchased a small dealer’s display case from someone in Crewe near to where I live in the UK so the best way of getting it to him was discussed. It was decided that if I got it to Geoff he would see to its onward conveyance. I duly took the case on the train to Lincoln station where Geoff met me in his car and what followed was a most pleasurable day out. As I had never visited this part of the country before, Geoff drove me around, showing me some some lovely unspoilt countryside (with very interesting and entertaining commentary on the way) and eventually, perhaps not unexpectedly, we ended up at what seemed to be one of Geoff’s local watering holes for lunch. After lunch Geoff drove me to his home and what I seem to remember seeing is lots of packages and bags everywhere which presumably contained Meccano/Hornby items. After showing me the contents of the house Geoff then took me to his garage which again was packed with more stuff – quite an eye-opener for me as I had only recently returned to the Meccano fold and not yet acquired much stuff myself. We then returned to the house and Geoff, with some difficulty, found somewhere for me to sit down in what seemed to be his main work-room in the house. After a coffee and much more ‘chat’ Geoff ran me back to the station in time for my train home, thereby ending a very enjoyable day. He was a thoroughly decent man who will be fondly remembered by many outside his immediate family. Glyn Roberts
Geoff was a wonderful source of information and advice about model engineering and real engineering. We will miss him. Don Morton St. Bruno, Quebec, Canada
Geoff and I spent a day together in Mumbai someday in 1991. I picked him up from his hotel in a company car. We visited a local Meccanoman at his workplace and then his home. Geoff could acquire from him a Trinity motor in good nick, which he paid for by sending over a quantity of parts later from England. We had drinks and lunch together and parted in the evening. During my second Meccano rebirth, Geoff was very supportive. He provided me with my first set of LTQs and also a near-complete Elektrikit set. He also arranged to pay my CQ sub for a couple of years. I will always be grateful to him. Ashok, India.
Sorry to hear about Geoff. Skeggie (if there are any more) will not be the same. Peter Clay
Another great loss to the Meccano fraternity. As Geoff himself often said “To the great Binns Road in the sky”. Rest in peace Geoff. It was a pleasure to know you. Dave Bradley
I, as well, never had the pleasure of meeting Geoff but recognized him as a great Meccano historian and enthusiast. The few dealings and messages I had over the years bore that out and I offer my condolences to his family and his many friends, rest in peace Geoff. Kevin Clark in Canada
Please add my name to the list of Spanners who have so eloquently expressed their feelings for Geoff. I have not seen him for a number of years but I found him a marvellous listener and he was so ready to share his knowledge of Meccano and Hornby 0 gauge trains. Max and Hilary Morris
So sad to hear of Geoff`s passing. I only had dealings with him in the last few years since I took over as TEAMS as Secretary and on recent visits to Skegex. Nearly all my members knew him and I had read and heard lots about him. A big man with a big heart and a huge loss to the Meccano world. Please send our most sincere condolences to Mrs Brown on behalf of all our TEAMS members. Roger Upsonsmith
Geoff was an amiable person, a fine host to visitors, and a unique treasure to our Meccano-Hornby community. A man of many talents including choirmaster, musician, historian, engineer, Meccanoman, raconteur, and perhaps his most-enjoyed hobby = an amateur Cicerone i.e. with “knowledge and essential tasting skills related to beer”. He practised that skill with great relish and was a connoisseur of fine beers everywhere. Like many of you readers, I spent a few enjoyable hours with him at his local Butcher & Beast pub in Heighington. No proper obituary for Geoff can be complete without input from the many Meccano and Hornby train hobbyists who benefited from his friendship and knowledge over the past decades. Jim Bobyn Montreal
I am sorry to hear about Geoff, a great loss of a great man. I caught him “off duty” at Skegness in 2014. Tony James
We were also very sad to learn recently of the death of another old friend to the Guild, Peter Gurd (who for many years traded as Arkwright Models at Oxton and elsewhere, mainly in Meccano literature. His health had been failing for some time.
Most recently we learned of the passing of Tony Rednall at the age of 82. He and his late brother Maurice were a remarkable couple of modellers, and two lovely people and enlivened any meeting, not least Skegex. Between them they produced some of the best and most ingenious models we have ever seen in Skegness. Not purists, granted, but brilliant engineers. Add to that the fact that they were lovely people who brought great pleasure into the lives of all their friends, and our loss is very real. Our deepest sympathy goes, I am sure, to Tony’s wife Cheryl at this time.
photo – Greg Webb
We also remember various other friends in the hobby who are currently far from well and assure them of our ongoing concern in these very difficult days.