Hullbridge Village History
Geoff (or Dad as I shall refer to him), was born in Clacton-on-Sea to proud parents Ethel and Bertie on June 12th 1939.
His naming was somewhat controversial to his older sister Enid as, on hearing of his arrival, she simply remarked 'but I wanted a Michael John!'
Dad was initially schooled at Holland Road School moving on to Clacton County High School. As a child he enjoyed the countryside available to roam in and, much to his mums displeasure, would frequently arrive home with slow worms concealed in the pockets of his shorts! Other notable boyhood interests and hobbies were collecting dinky toys', model railways and Meccano modelling. On leaving school Dad converted a hobby into paid work cleaning steam engines at Colchester and then onto Peterborough where he trained as a fireman. With Dr Beeching's cuts on the horizon Dad moved into four wheels working at Holland Motors in the stores.
For leisure Dad learned dancing at the Stranwell Dance School in Clacton where his eyes fell on Wendy Elizabeth Venard. Geoff and Wendy cut quite a dash on the dance floor of the Blue Lagoon on Clacton Pier most Saturday nights! Following a stint of national service with the Royal Engineers Dad was appointed store manager at Clacton Motors, a position that came with a distinctly chilly flat above the garage. Mum tells me of memories of cold mornings with frost on the inside of the window panes! Wedding bells for Wendy and Geoff rang out on September 1st 1962 and before long wedded bliss was changed forever with the arrival of Kevin John on January 8th 1964. Following a change of ownership at the garage Dad sought alternative employment eventually joining the Essex Police which bought with it a move to Braintree and police accommodation.
Regular beat duties were punctuated with excitement caused by an unexploded shell being bought into the Police Station - Dad's solution was to place it in a bucket of sand.
A long running rivalry with the local Fire Brigade resulted in many pranks being played including the hoisting of a 'found' shop mannequin, liberally covered in tomato ketchup, to hang outside the Fire station window and left to await sighting of it by the buildings occupants upon opening of the curtains!
Despite all this frivolity Mum and Dad still found time for other things and on 29th October 1966 Robert Mark, my younger brother, entered the world.
An appointment as road safety officer meant a move to Rayleigh where Dad began an association with local schools taking the fondly remembered pedal cars and roll-up zebra crossing into school halls across the Rochford and Southend district which, of course, gave him his first contact with Hullbridge.
Just how cool was that - a Dad who came into school, had us excused from regular lesons to play on big toys! This job role expanded into schools liaison officer - a job that Dad excelled in and totally loved. The exposure to so many young people has meant that virtually any social gathering has resulted in innumerable 'I remember you' remarks from now fully grown adults with children of their own!
The arrival in Rayleigh, and subsequent move to Hullbridge in 1972, also enabled Dad to start learning to play a musical instrument. Mum's calm temperament must have been somewhat tested when he decided the instrument for him was to be the tuba! This was the start of in excess of 30 years membership of Rayleigh Brass and had a distinct influence on both myself and Robert resulting in the arrival of two trombones in the Hall household.
Following retirement with ill health I introduced Mum and Dad to Cathy whilst Robert bought Christine into the family. Grandchildren Sam, Megan, Toby and Emma have arrived over the past twenty years or so and made family gatherings a lively affair! Being a Grandparent was a role that Dad threw himself into with great gusto! Having said that there was many a time when Dad's competitive streak meant no quarter was given to any Grandchild when challenged to a game of draughts!
Retirement meant that Dad had time to reacquaint himself with the joys of model railways and Meccano and to continue an active involvement with Rayleigh Brass.
Both Mum and Dad enjoyed continental holidays in latter years, whether as a cruise or by coach, particular favourite destinations being Austria and Norway.
Since being diagnosed with Parkinsonism, life for Mum and Dad obviously changed significantly but Dad was still a regular attendee of Rayleigh Brass concerts, The Meccano Club and Hullbridge Free Church and always enjoyed the company of others. Dad sadly passed away on 21st April 2014 whilst in the care of Fairhavens Hospice, Westcliff-on-Sea. During the past few years the support given to Mum by friends within Hullbridge, and particularly in Crouch Avenue, has been wonderful and, as a family, we would like to thank all concerned.
I have just got home after attending the funeral and memorial service of Geoff Hall.
If you went to school in the 1970's or 80's you may well remember PC Hall the policeman who came to give us road safety talks, I remember them well with the roll out zebra crossing and the pedal cars and I'm sure lots of you do too.
Geoff passed away 2 weeks ago following a long struggle with Parkinson's Disease. He was a lovely man with a lovely family who are going to miss him dearly. RIP PC Geoff Hall and thanks for keeping all us kids safe.
Geoff & Wendy have 2 sons Kevin & Robert who both went to Riverside.
Geoff and his sons were all members of Rayleigh Brass and some of them played at the memorial service today.
Pc Hall I remember. I went to school with his son Kevin, used to go round the house quite a bit ( Lived in Crouch Avenue). Very nice people. RIP Geoff.
I do remember these days when PC Hall came to the School it was kind of fun watching the role play, Best Wishes to the Hall family & this difficult time.
Kevin must be very proud of his Father, that he had the respect of a community and generation of children that knew what it meant to send out such a powerful message for such a worth while cause, when we was kids we played hard but still had the core values and mindset that was influenced by PC Geoff Hall and people like him , I cherish my memories as a child in 70's, and how lucky we was. Respect to the Hall family, I hope you can draw on some comfort at this period of time that how very grateful we all are.
So sad. I too remember him coming into school with the pedal ice cream van, the squirrel and the clown who were all part of the road safety interactive shows that taught us road traffic awareness, and not to talk to strangers. However, it was the road safety song that I remember most and have since used with my own children
'Stop at the kerb, take great care, look all around and listen too, when its clear, no traffic near, cross now all is well'
He also came to school one weekend and coached us for our cycling proficiency, one week later and we were out on the roads during school hours, meeting at the library with our bikes for our test. I passed and this gave me my freedom to cycle across Hullbridge........ But NOT on the pavements ! It is with very fond memories that I remember Geoff.
Geoff and his family were, and still are, involved with Rayleigh Brass and played at various Fetes etc in the village. Kevin and his family are still involved and the Band provide the Music for the Scout Gift and Carol Service each Christmas.
A really nice guy!
Ahh I remember him too RIP
It takes a certain type of person to undertake a career like policing and to do it well. Someone with patience and a caring nature but who
is strong when needing to be. That person must have high standards and values on what is right and wrong which tends not to happen unless the parents
have instilled this into them when young. Being able to communicate effectively is vital so as to avoid serious confrontations and to persuade people
over to your point of view to make them law abiding citizens. Having a kind face helps. This all sounds like a CV for a job but I think it describes
Geoff to a T. Working with children is never easy and to make such an impression on those of the village, as he did, makes him very special, a
perfect role model for any kid. His obvious love of music, especially playing, allowed him to have a gateway into the live's of the youth's.
Geoff will be really missed by many villagers but will always be with us in our memories of growing up in the village. GOD BLESS YOU Geoff !