A ‘tenacious’ Horsham man whose ‘pride in the town’ saw him volunteer for several worthy causes died aged 91 last Wednesday.
Geoffrey Matthews, who lived in Horsham since moving to the town with his family in the 1950s, was involved in Horsham in Bloom, the League of Friends of Horsham Hospital, and Denne Neighbourhood Council.
He was awarded an MBE for his heroism in the London Fire Service during the Second World War, and served in the Far East for the RAF as a warrant officer.
A friend said: “He loved his family dearly and he was always there for people.
“He was kind, caring and thoughtful.”
He lived in Park Rise before moving to Tanbridge Park, and passed away peacefully at Heathfield Care Home in Hurst Road.
District councillor Christine Costin, who worked with Geoff when she was chairman of Horsham in Bloom, paid tribute to his ‘tenacity’ in helping them win Britain in Bloom.
She explained: “He was proud of Horsham and wanted it to look well groomed and beautiful so that it would be recognised as one of the finest places in Britain.”
Susan Brundish, chairman of Horsham in Bloom, said everyone was saddened to hear of Geoff’s death.
She added: “He was very much a foot soldier for HIB, believing that personal contact was the most effective way to build good relationships with local businesses which resulted in their support and sponsorship. He successfully strove to ensure that the work of HIB had a positive effect on the town.”
David Briffett, vice chairman of The League of Friends of Horsham Hospital, said: “Geoff gave a great deal of his time and energy to the interests of the hospital and his contribution was greatly valued.”
He is survived by his wife Audrey, three children Stuart, Sandra and Sally, his four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.