The life of a ‘funny old codger’ and popular owner of a Horsham newsagents has been remembered this week.
Family, friends and loved ones have paid emotional tributes to Mick Geaves, who ran M&J News in East Street with his wife Jane, after he lost a short battle with lung cancer aged 64.
“Everyone called us Punch and Judy because we used to bounce off each other,” said Jane, 63, who spoke to the County Times this week.
“He was very special, there was always something crazy about him.”
Jane met Mick in Hastings when she was 13-years-old.
Her mother had noticed a young man who could not keep his eyes off Jane during a religious event.
The pair got married in 1972 and moved to Kent for Mick’s job at a firm called Visionhire.
“But he wasn’t happy in his job,” continued Jane, “and we always dreamt of having our own business.”
It took them years to find the Horsham store, but M&J News was opened in 1990.
Today their 18 paper boys deliver around 600 newspapers across 24 rounds in Horsham.
Reputation has grown so strong to the point where the shop welcomes anywhere between 700 and 1,000 customers every day.
Jane said Mick ‘loved dealing with people, and was always telling jokes’. But added: “His jokes were awful.
“We had a very similar sense of humour and that’s what got ourselves through the years of business.”
Mick was diagnosed with cancer around six weeks ago, and was given up to nine months to live. But his health quickly deteriorated.
“It was a merciful release when he died on Thursday (September 19),” explained Jane.
“It was like being on a roller coaster that didn’t stop. He didn’t deserve it.
“Loved ones all thought the world of him - the cards we’ve been sent - some people said we’re like the village pub and the village church and we’re at the centre of the community. And it’s funny because that’s what we always wanted.”
Jane described him as a ‘caring man’, an occasional ‘romantic’, a ‘lovely dad’ and a ‘funny old codger’ as many customers would routinely ask her how the ‘old codger’ is getting on.
Mick leaves behind three daughters - Karen, 35, Tracey, 33, and Laura, 31, and grandson Corey who he was ‘absolutely besotted with’.
Jane thanked everyone for their support.
Talking of the staff, she said: “They’ve been wonderful. The most amazing support I could have wished for and Mick was so grateful for them.”
When Mick was not at work, he could often be found at Ye Olde Stout House in Horsham town centre.
Landlord Barry McGahan, 64, said: “There wasn’t a bad bone in his body.
“He was a Spurs fanatic, had a great sense of humour and was and all round top bloke. I haven’t anyone say anything bad about him.”
Close friend and loyal customer Jim London, of Denne Road, told the County Times: “When I heard Mick had passed away I was gutted. He was quick-witted - we always had a wind-up - and he had my paper delivered every week. He will be sadly missed around Horsham.”
People have also taken to social media to pay their respects.
Angela Barber wrote on the County Times Facebook: “Was such a lovely man, always had a smile, he will be missed - love and prayers to his family x”