Geoff Hill's autobiography describes his rise from the back streets of Brierley Hill during the 1930s to the running of a successful Black Country business, and then back to rags again - or the rag trade - when he founded a chain of charity shops. In between were his stints as a gnome vendor, champion cyclist, pub landlord and encyclopaedia salesman. Geoff Hill was born in 1927 in Brierley Hill. He easily obtained a scholarship to King Edward VI School in Stourbridge, but had to leave at the age of fifteen in order to contribute to the family income. Geoff's passion for cycling led him to take a job in a bicycle shop, and to semi-professional cycling: at the age of seventeen he became the British Under Eighteen Champion. This obsession with bike racing continued until Geoff was called up for National Service as a 'Bevin Boy'. Hard physical labour down the pit brought with it back problems, bringing an end to his cycling career. Restless, and always searching for a new challenge, Geoff spent the late '40s and '50s in a bewildering variety of jobs - from selling the "Encyclopedia Britannica", Bettaware and typewriters to supervising industrial canteens, running a pub and a grocery shop, and even selling garden gnomes. Finally he settled down with the opening of Geoff Hill Electrical - now the Black Country's most successful independent electrical retailer. Geoff has always supported local charities, primarily Mary Stephens' Hospice. Under his guidance the Hospice Trading Company was set up; it now runs a chain of charity shops which have raised over GBP1 million. He has recently set up the Geoff Hill Charitable Trust, devoted to charitable work in the Black Country - and despite being semi-retired these days Geoff is busier than he's ever been.
Publisher: The History Press Ltd