Funeral held for much-loved Gosport councillor

Michael Geddes coffin resplendent in Watfords colours.
Michael Geddes coffin resplendent in Watfords colours.
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HE was a councillor and an ex-serviceman – but to all that knew him, Michael Geddes was a good friend.

HE WAS a councillor and an ex-serviceman – but to all who knew him, Michael Geddes was a good friend.

Michael Geddes

Michael Geddes

Friends, family and politicians all gathered at The Oaks Crematorium at Bartons Road, Havant, to say their final goodbyes to the former councillor.

Mr Geddes died at the age of 70 on August 30 after a long battle with illness.

Mr Geddes was renowned in the community for keeping himself busy, with a bookshop in Gosport Precint and having previously served in the Royal Navy, reaching the rank of Chief Petty Officer.

He was also a governor at St Vincent College, Gosport, among other interests.

Some attending the funeral yesterday wore Watford Football Club scarves, matching the club colours with which Mr Geddes’ coffin was decorated. He was a life-long fan of the team.

Initially trained as a butcher, he joined the Royal Navy in 1969, serving aboard HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible.

He also served as a Conservative Gosport borough councillor for Bridgemary South from May 2008-2016, and as a Hampshire County councillor from 2009-2013.

The funeral mirrored Mr Geddes’ lifelong connections to both Watford and the Royal Navy, with Sailing by Rod Stewart playing as mourners arrived, and a photogaphic tribute to his life accompanied by Elton John’s Your Song – the superstar is a former club owner and remains a huge fan of the Hornets.

Speaking at his funeral, work colleague Samantha Gouldthorp said: ‘Everyone who knew Mike would agree his dedication, commitment and work ethic were incredible.

‘His loyalty was unquestionable and something everyone could always rely on.

‘A lot of people kept in touch with him, and over the past couple of weeks it has been truly heartwarming to hear people explain what he meant to them.

‘Mike was a very private man and outside work he loved his cricket and his football – and while he may have taken some stick over his beloved Watford, he certainly gave as good as he got.

‘He had a wickedly dry sense of humour and always had a quick one-liner to hand.

‘I would like to thank everyone who has come along to pay their respects.

‘Mike, we were privileged to have known you. For now it is goodbye but you will never be forgotten,’ she added.

The mayor of Gosport, Cllr Linda Batty, said: ‘Michael was a real gentleman and it is such a shame that he has gone.

‘Because we covered the same area we weren’t on any committees together, but he was a real pleasure at full council meetings – a wonderful person and a great family man.’

The deputy leader of Gosport council, Cllr Graham Burgess, said: ‘Mike was a very good local and county councillor, and a valued member of the town. He was highly respected and it is a sad loss – he will be sorely missed.’

Family and friends later celebrated Mr Geddes’ life at Thorngate Halls in Bury Road, Gosport.

His family has asked for donations to Cancer Research UK. A memorial page has also been set up at michael-geddes.muchloved.com, for those who wish to pay tribute.