Ultimately becoming a Chartered Shipbroker, Geoff Fletcher was born in Middlesbrough on 24 September 1941, during a period when the town - the first British town and industrial target to be bombed in the Second World War - was being regularly attacked.
After leaving Hugh Bell Grammar School (one of Middlesbrough's most prominent landmarks, a now-demolished grand Victorian building) he entered the world of maritime transport when he joined Constantine Co. (now Constantine Group) and BISC (Ore) Ltd in the town as a Shipping Clerk in 1958.
Promotions followed and after the 1967 nationalisation of the steel industry he became Assistant Distribution Manager at British Steel Corporation (BSC),at itsn its London Head Office.
Promotions to Operations Co-ordinator Shipping (1972) then Ship Scheduling Controller, followed. In 1976 he moved north to become General Manager of two shipping agencies on the Humber (Immingham and Grimsby).
In 1979 he returned to the north-east as General Manager of Teesside Warehousing Co. Ltd, Stockton, a shipping, haulage and warehousing operation, a post he held for almost the next 20 years, after when he became a self-employed Transport Consultant until retirement.
He joined IoTA when working in London, becaming a Fellow in 1988. From 1977 he was a committee member of the Lincoln & South Humberside Centre.
Coinciding with his move back to his home area, he joined the North East Centre committee and was elected Social Secretary, a role he had previously held in Humberside. Appointed Centre Vice-Chairman in 1981, he progressed to Centre Chairman for the 1982-1983 office period.
He was also on the National Council, initially as Chair of the External Affairs Committee, then National Vice-Chairman and finally a Trustee.
He was also active in the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, which he entered in 1965 by examination after five years of study. Elected a Fellow in 1998 he was also Chair of its North East Branch.
A member of the Institute of Logistics from 1993, and a Fellow of the Institute of Freight Forwarders from 1997, he was also a President of the Cleveland Scientific Institution.
Outside of his professional life, he was a talented watercolour/acrylic artist, specialising in industrial art (power stations, steelworks, chemical plants, bridges etc),landmarks (such as Giant’s Causeway, Bamburgh Castle and Roseberry Topping) and abstract art.
He combined this with golf, fishing, music, local history, genealogy, cruises and caravanning in the UK and Europe.
IoTA was always very close to Geoff’s heart and he valued the long friendships he made over many years and along with his wife Eileen, who survives him, they had very special memories of the many National Conferences they attended.
Remembered with great fondness by all who knew him, he died on 28 September 2019, four days after his 78th birthday.
The Tribute from the Funeral Service
19TH JANUARY 2019
Josea had a varied and interesting life. Born in London in 1935 when her Mother was manageress for Lawleys of London. At the outbreak of war, she was sent to live in Bath with her Granny, avoiding the bombing.
She survived the Bath blitzes even though houses in her street were bombed, losing several of her school friends who died in an air raid shelter and witnessed the local church being burnt out.
After the war her Mother joined her in the Bath area and they were living in Nissen huts. Josea used to help a local farmer with his cattle and managed to buy her first horse, a Suffolk Punch cross, “Laddie” which she was often seen riding in the Bath area.
During this period, she met and married her first husband Tom who was employed as a “Ganger” in the local building trade. When his work took him to Membury air field Josea followed him taking all their possessions on a horse and cart pulled by Laddie and lived in a caravan by the airport fence.
When the Membury contract finished they moved on to Aldermaston to work on building the AWE, renting a field opposite to put the caravan. She gave birth to 3 Children Jan, Vourn and Kevin as well as raising Tom’s 2 children from a previous marriage Keith and Michael.
She met David when the Circus came to Aldermaston for winter quarters, both marriages broke up and Josea began to look after David’s children as at that time he was with a team of lorry drivers receiving night trunk lorries from Middlesbrough and delivering steel and concrete throughout the South of England, then reloading the trailers for their journey north the next night. She helped him in shunting and reversing 40 and 50 foot trailers into various loading bays at Reeds Paper Mill Thatcham using a very old Scammel tractor unit.
David and Josea kept the circus tradition alive by putting on a “Mini” Circus for Various departments of Cadburys at Christmas, David as “PONGO” The clown and Josea with a novelty dog act Olivia’s Jewels.
When David was appointed Transport Manager for Cooks of Reading a firm specialising in transporting livestock internationally, Josea was called in to help with the animals eventually delivering the livestock throughout Europe.
Cooks were taken over by Tayrock and Josea continued to drive pedigree livestock on the continent in addition to large containers of plastic bottles. She was among the first females to obtain an HGV licence a rarity at the time. Using a CB radio, she was known as Juggernaut Granny.
She married David and helped raise his 4 children Carla, John, Peter and Netta, meal times could be hectic on the farm!! She followed David to E.B.Povey and Son where she was involved in the distribution of a lot of Faberge products as well as continuing with the livestock work.
Josea moved all the Circus vehicles to the fields by the A.W.R.E and renamed it “Circus Farm”, at about this time she bought a lorry and obtained an operator’s licence
The last 18 years of her driving career and with David’s help plus a second lorry they delivered handmade furniture for a Reading company all over the UK.
During this time, she purchased a pedigree Limousin bull followed by Limousin cows to form the Aldermaston Herd of Limousin Cattle. She was well known in the Tadley area for leading this large bull “Roy” on a flimsy lead to neighbouring farms.
As the hard work and age took its toll, she changed from the larger Limousin to the much smaller Dexter breed. At the millennium she finally retired selling the lorries and rehoming the cattle but retaining a couple of horses that she rode on occasion.
Still staying with animals, she took to breeding and showing White German Shepherds as well as an interest in Heritage Railways
Josea was awarded a Fellowship of the Institute of Transport Administration and is a Life Member of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) British Limousin Association, The Dexter Society, The British Horse Society and The Watercress Line and an Active Member of TADS Tadley and District History Society attending meetings on a regular basis as well as The British Polio Federation.