HUNDREDS of people turned out to pay their respects to popular businessman and charity fundraiser Geoff Hill at his funeral today (Tuesday November 20).

The benevolent boss of Geoff Hill Ltd, at Amblecote, who had given away more than £500,000 to charities, was laid to rest after a service at Wordsley’s Holy Trinity Church which was attended by friends, family, colleagues and dignitaries from across the borough and across the Pond.

Mr Hill, aged 91, passed away at his Lawnswood home on November 8 after a period of ill health.

His son Nigel, who had flown in from California, paid a heartfelt tribute during the service to his dad who he said had “lived a most distinguished and exemplary life”.

He said Geoff, who was named ITV Midlander of the Year in 2003, had been a man with “visionary qualities” and paid tribute to the devotion his father paid to helping charities, particularly through his charitable trust with the help of his wife of 40 years - Sue.

He said: “With Sue firmly at his side Geoff’s vision soared.” And he said theirs had been “a divine union of two great souls”.

The Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Alan Taylor, also paid tribute to Geoff, who was a founder member of Mary Stevens Hospice in Stourbridge and who was awarded the MBE in 2004 for his fundraising for the charity.

He told mourners: “Geoff was one of our most valued citizens. The name of Geoff Hill was synonymous with charity, generosity and community spirit. Most residents in the borough know the name Geoff Hill. He will be greatly missed but his legacy will live on. Our sympathies are with his family at this time.”

Councillor Steve Waltho, former Mayor of Dudley, described Geoff as “a wonderful and legendary person”. He told many anecdotes about Geoff and how he’d admired his “tireless fundraising” and said: “The borough owes Geoff a great debt of gratitude. He was a legend in this borough and he’ll never be forgotten.”

As well as his devoted wife Sue, Geoff leaves three children – Louise, Teresa and Nigel, five grandchildren, plus great grandchildren, step-son Richard and three step-grandchildren, and a nephew Mark, and brother Rob.

Donations in Geoff’s memory can still be made to the Geoff Hill Charitable Trust via funeral directors Farmer & Son, Wordsley High Street, or via Geoff Hill Ltd in Amblecote High Street, which closed as a mark of respect on the day of the funeral.