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Geoff Hill Autobiography

From Riches to Rags (Sutton Publishing)

Geoff Hill's autobiography describes his rise from a small terrace house in the back streets of the heavily industrialised Black Country town of Brierley Hill in the late 1920's, to the running of a highly successful retail electrical store. This was followed on retirement by his going back to rags - or the rag trade - when he used his business experience to open a chain of charity shops for a local hospice which raised over £1million in the first ten years. Hence the "From Riches to Rags". In Geoff's early days he easily obtained a scholarship for King Edwards V1 school in Stourbridge, but received permission to leave at fifteen to help support the family income and to further his passion for cycle racing. Geoff's working life was composed of some fifteen very different jobs, and then several very different businesses.

From Riches to Rags, autobiography of Stourbridge businessman Geoff Hill

After working at the stores at a sanatorium and as an accountant doing audit work he then acquired a job in a racing cycle shop at Wolverhampton when he became "British under eighteen Cycling Champion". He also became the first semi professional road racing cyclist competing in Britain's first multistage massed start road race from Brighton to Glasgow. A stint as a "Bevin Boy" down the pit caused permanent damage to his lower back and a premature end to his cycling career. However he bounced back with a bewildering variety of jobs, from office work, supervising a chain of industrial canteens, door to door selling Betteraware, then Encyclopaedia Britannica and typewriters and office equipment, followed by a sales and service job with Hoover. His businesses started with a grocery shop on the riverside at Bewdley, then tenancy landlord of a large county pub, he even sold miniature gnomes and brass items around the seaside resorts in Devon. Finally after opening and running shops for a Kidderminster electrical retailer, Geoff started his own electrical store in 1960. From humble beginnings in a small £3 per week shop, in a nondescript shopping area near Stourbridge he built it up to have the highest turnover of all sixty stores in the Birmingham and Black Country buying group that he'd joined. Since retiring, Geoff has wanted to put something back into the local community and evolved an endless medley of fundraising events. Notable of these was the hospice lottery, which also raised £1million, this time in just six years. Ten years ago he started the "Geoff Hill Charitable Trust" with 10% of his company's annual profit and now over 600 local needy causes and charities have received financial assistance. Also he recounts the unbelievable response of the public in the heart rendering "Robert Parson's Story" and Geoff and Sue's four visits to Buckingham Palace. He is still a director of several other charities and although aged 80 in 2007 he still keeps as busy as ever.

Geoff has bought the first 1,000 copies of the book himself and hopes to raise £10,000 for the following 6 local charities which are:-

  1. Mary Stevens Hospice
  2. Age Concern Stourbridge
  3. Dudley Hope
  4. Sunfield Children's Home Clent
  5. Leukaemia Unit at Russells Hall Hospital
  6. Action Heart

Any further income from sale of the books will go into the "Geoff Hill Charitable Trust" which will be distributed to local charities and needy causes. The book will also be available at the Geoff Hill Electrical store, Amblecote, as well as local shops.

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