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Tributes paid to Grantham Rotarian and 'man of many talents' who has died at the age of 85

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Tributes have been paid to a long-serving Grantham Rotarian and “true gentleman”, who has died following a short illness.

Alan Geeson, of Denton, passed away suddenly at his home, aged 85, following a short illness.

He was known throughout Grantham for the incredible work he carried out within the community, most notably as one of the founding members of Rotary Club of Grantham Kesteven and for organising the Rotary Shoebox scheme each year, where he was responsible for distributing nearly 2,000 boxes to schools, clubs and organisations to fill with small toys and other items as Christmas presents for disadvantaged boys and girls in far eastern countries who would otherwise get nothing.

Alan Geeson passed away last month. (51108314)
Alan Geeson passed away last month. (51108314)

Alan was also a member of U3A , Grantham Canal Society, treasurer of Grantham Youth Trust, on the church council and when he wasn’t involved in all of that he even renovated and completely fitted out a narrowboat in his yard at Denton. Over the years he was also a parish councillor, a school governor, on the village hall and street market committees as well as running Geeson Funeral Services and a small engineering business.

Mike Charity, of Rotary Club of Grantham Kesteven, knew Alan for more than 60 years and said it was a real “privilege to know and work with him.”

He added: “He was a fabulous guy of many talents and able to turn his hand to anything. A quiet, kind compassionate and unassuming gentleman willing to help others whenever he could. He was very methodical and organised, never flustered and never a cross word.

Alan Geeson passed away last month. (51108362)
Alan Geeson passed away last month. (51108362)

“I first met Alan in the late 1950s when I joined the Poachers Motor Club organising many events together and often burning the midnight oil in his office at Denton writing and printing on the old Gestetner machines. In the first 50 years that I knew him the only holiday he took was to be part of a service crew on the RAC International Rally which took him all over England, Scotland and Wales over five days and nights over a period of four years.

“In 1982 we both became founder members of the Rotary Club of Grantham Kesteven in which he remained until his sudden death. Alan was very dedicated to Rotary. During this time he held many offices - international chairman 1988-92, president 1993/4, secretary 1995-2000 and treasurer 2000-2003.”

Alan was recognised for his dedicated work to Rotary by being awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship in 1994 followed by the addition of a Sapphire in 2002 and another Sapphire in 2010.

Mike added: “Alan leaves a huge void in the Rotary Club of Grantham Kesteven, Trade Aid and the local community and will be sorely missed by many.”

Alan Geeson passed away last month. (51108335)
Alan Geeson passed away last month. (51108335)

In 2004 the Rotary Club formed the Trade-Aid Trust following the Tsunami disaster in Indonesia. Alan was pivotal in the development and running of the charity, which provides new tools for those who have lost everything in a disaster.

Alan quickly became the prime speaker, travelling all over the country to promote the cause as well as taking charge of obtaining the necessary equipment, packing and transport of the boxes to whereever needed. Currently more than 1,250 boxes have been dispatched to more than 30 countries around the world, mainly by air freight.

Over the years the charity developed and diversified into a third world training organisation in which Alan became a renowned friend of many ethnic people, an excellent ambassador for Trade-Aid, Rotary and international relationships.

John Asher, member of the Rotary Club Grantham Kesteven, is also a founder of Trade Aid. He said: “Without Alan’s help, Trade Aid wouldn’t be where it is today. He really took the charity on and did a lot of the work, packing the boxes etc, at his home in Denton. He just took on more and more.”

Graham Smith also worked closely with Alan as treasurer of Trade Aid and paid tribute to his dear friend of more than 40 years.

He added: “Alan was really the driving force behind it. He was so meticulous with everything and never stopped working. He was an absolute godsend to me.”

In a more poignant reminder of how precious life can be, Alan made sure he documented everything and ensured that the other volunteers had all the information needed to carry on with the project should anything happen to him.

Graham added: “He was also a great shoulder to lean on if you needed any advice. We are determined to carry on but it will take a special person to fill Alan’s position. He will be so sadly missed.”

Alan was also a much valued member of the Grantham Canal Society in the restoration and a regular face on the society’s trip boat.

John Trigg, senior skipper at Grantham Canal Society added: “Alan was a valued and dependable member of the Grantham Canal Society trip boat team, crewing many trips during his years with us. He fascinated us as he recounted his stories of boat designing and building.

“A man of many talents, he will be sadly missed.”

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