Geoff Walford

Sadly Geoff passed away on 3rd September 2014 in St Wilfred's Hospice in Eastbourne. Our sincere sympathies go out to Geoff's partner Jan, his family, friends and former colleagues. Geoff's service was held at the Surrey & Sussex Crematorium on Thursday 18th September 2014

A message from Jan Canacott, Geoff’s long-time partner and from his son Douglas

Thank you all for your kind and touching words of sympathy for Geoff. He will be greatly missed by us and everybody who had the pleasure of crossing path's with him. Whether that was during his many years in the US or the time he spent down in Nigeria or his return to the golf courses (and airports) of England.

Following the service, a message from Douglas, Jan & Birgit - 19th September 2014

We just wanted to say thank you to everyone from my dad's airline family and friends who were able to attend his service and reception. It was really nice to see everyone again, some for the first time in 30+ years, stirring fond memories of our overseas travels and adventures across the globe.

His airline family meant the world to him and I think he would have been extremely happy to see everyone reunited like they were for him on that beautiful sunny day. Thank you, Douglas, Jan & Birgit

Update 24th October 2014
Phil Bowell has heard from Geoff's partner Jan, and she told Phil that the donations made so far in Geoff's name amounted to £945

This all went to St Wilfred's Hospice in Eastbourne where Geoff spent his last days. They were very good to him and am sure they will be very grateful for the money. On behalf of Jan and all the family, many thanks to everyone who attended and donated money. Jan and the family are very grateful for the support.

Geoff Remembered

From Phil Bowell   I was fortunate enough to see Geoff last week and he was in good spirits and we chatted for some time.

From Jon Theobalds
Geoff started his airline career in 1969, in BUA. He progressed through the ranks of BUA and BCAL and spent time in the US and West Africa. He was very popular and well known in the airline industry.

Regretfully I did not know him well - he started in BUA a few months after I moved on in ‘69, but I did get to know him when he attended the BUA Traffic Dept Reunions. He was ‘paid up’ to attend our next one in October this year. We will dedicate that event to the memory of Geoff.

From Chris Youngman
Sad to hear. Geoff & I started in BUA service control (behind Ship's Papers) on the same day, April '69. Our first task was to check out the breakfasts in Eddie's, as many reading this will have done.

From Bob Coleman
I was both shocked and very sad to hear about Geoff. I worked particularly close to him when we were both in LOS in the early eighties, and could always rely on him covering all the multitude of problems which constantly arose at the airport, with that laid back and reassuring manner which enabled me to carry on in our Town Office confident that LOSAP was in good hands. I can remember once going out to the airport to meet my son Nick who had come down to LOS to visit us and had been hauled off to a back office due to some paperwork inaccuracy and a very worried Dad found Geoff and told him what had happened. With a trace of a smile on his face, I can still remember him sticking his head through the door of the office where Nick was being held and saying in a loud voice 'Ogga, what you doing with de GM's son in there?' Seconds later a very relieved Nick was out! I am sure that all who knew Geoff will feel that they have lost a great colleague.

From Derek & Cherry Epps
Cherry and I have lost a true friend. We had many holidays with Geoff and Jan over the years; most recently in Cornwall and they came to stay with us in the New Forest only a few weeks ago. He and I had a lovely walk along the waterfront in Lymington and although the prognosis for his cancer was not good, he displayed incredible courage and optimism.

We last saw him just over a week ago and again, although desperately ill, the old Geoff spirit was still there and we left him with a smile on his face. We often reminisced about our times together in BCal and he held all his friends and colleagues in great affection. He will be greatly missed.

From Alan Reeves
I knew Geoff from his USA times through to when I took over from him in Lagos. A laid back unflappable aviation veteran, he will be sadly missed. His final 'departure from Lagos' story always brought a smile to our faces.

From Mick Wells     I remember Geoff well, we worked in Longbridge House when he was Ops Manager, lovely man. My condolences to his family

From Barbara Talman    A lovely chap that I had the pleasure to work with; may his ops service serve him well in heave

From Dick Holder
I knew Geoff in the early days, we had some good times together, especially in the USA in the very early days of our careers. Geoff was a super guy who was always pleasant and kind to both the customer and his work Colleagues. We also shared the same birth date, it's times like this that make you realise how lucky you are. To have known and worked with Geoff was a real privilege; another great airline man gone.

From Norman Beavis
Very Sad. I knew Geoff From my time as a Shop steward for BA   (A) scales, he was our manager for Passenger Services. I found him to be a very firm but fair manager and I had great respect for him. Geoff was from the old school knew his job and respected others that were doing theirs. My condolences to his family.

From Gail Williams
I worked with Geoff in Houston in the late 70's ..and we re connected via Facebook all these years later..... I'm so sad to hear this news.. God Bless Geoff and his family

From Rob Cooper
I have good memories of Geoff from out time together at Gatwick, first with BCal, and then BA. I will always be grateful for the excellent advice he gave me, before I went to Lagos, all of which turned out to be accurate and useful. Bless you Geoff

From Jan Spratt
Lovely man. He was always such a good sport performing at the BA charity panto every year. Often dressed in a tutu. RIP Geoff and big condolences to the family

From Tim Gibson
Geoff came out to join the Cally Team in JFK Ops in the early 70's. It was always fun to hear him say down the phone "That's Geoffrey, with a 'G'  and then he would find it written 'Geffrey'. Always rail thin, (and he was always pulling at his shirt front to make sure it was just so, over his belt)  he and Birgit seemed to be able to consume huge amounts of food and neither of them ever gained an ounce. I went to visit them in Lagos, being brave enough to travel on the WT DC-10 ex JFK and arrived armed with 24 Dunkin Donuts, as I discovered they were both having withdrawal symptoms from this highly nutritious food. As they correctly reasoned they would not last, the boxes were empty within 36 hours. RIP  Geoffrey, with a 'G'.

From Ann Hood
Thank you Geoff, a real gent....LGW/JFK....IAH/STL/LOS/LGW....and working at retired. Many happy memories throughout the years in many places, one of the old school in the airline world.  RIP buddie....sadly missed and so much appreciated in all you did, a great guy.

From John and Pam Reeds
In recent years we have only seen Geoff two or three times, so will remember him from the JFK scene. Alcoholic evenings at the Digs and Timothy Tubbs Bars, his pride in his state of the art Audi, our efforts at golf at Bethpage (reasonable), skiing at Park City (poor). Geoff was good company, with a wry sense of humour, always optimistic, and always willing to help. It was good to know "The Boy", and he will be greatly missed.

From Ron Paterson
Really sad to hear of Geoff passing. He was a proper gentleman of the old school and a truly great boss. He gave me my first proper management job and I hope I lived up to his faith in me.  Above that I will never forget his support and help when my daughter had a serious accident. She stll treasures the monkey he brought her in hospital and still remembers his visit 17 years later. I just hope they have pipes to smoke and golf courses to play in heaven. My thoughts are with Jan and the family. Rest in peace mate

From David Budgen
Our sincere condolences to Jan, Douglas and their families on their great loss. My wife Angela and I count ourselves very fortunate indeed to have known Geoff and Jan for so many years. In fact, our friendship with Geoff, in particular, goes well back - Angela and Geoffrey ( as he was known then ! ) were class mates at Lumley Road School in Horley and I first met Geoff ( as I always knew him) in the 1970s.

As so many of the touching tributes have noted, at work Geoff was the consummate professional, never flustered, always in control. At play, his companionship and sense of humour were a delight. He loved his golf, his cars and a glass or two but, also a good old natter on a wide-range of topics, morning, noon or night. And it was always hard to argue with his point of view. On one memorable road trip to Brittany, he entertained us for hours with all sorts of tales from his long and successful career. We laughed so much then, we can barely remember them now ! But will never forget his great friendship.

From Brian and Beverly Thorburn
I am sure that Brian would like me to add his condolences at Geoffs sad death. Whilst in Lagos he made what sometimes was a very demanding job less of a burden. We still remember the weekend outings to the beaches.

From George Banks
Geoff and his family were always kind enough to accommodate me on my many visits to Lagos as i was responsible for the Lagos catering unit.  It was always a pleasure to stay, as hotels were not wonderful in Lagos at that time, and  it was nice in the evenings to relax and have a few drinks and a nice meal with them. Geoff was  always laid back and never minded whenever you turned up after work and was a mine of imformation on the industry so hearing all his stories about BCAL BUA, Royal Air Maroc [who he worked for at JFK] often kept us up late. Later i kept in touch and him and Jan came over to my cottage in Sussex for supper. I had not seen him for a while but Geoff was one of those people who even if you had not spoken to for years would immediately make you feel that he had seen you a week ago. There is a picture of Geoff in Sir Adam Thomsons book " HIGH RISK.......the politics of the air" between pages 278 and 279 caption "In 1971 we were preoccupied with the BUA takeover" Geoff can be seen watching Sir Adam on the television toward the back. Wonderful memories. 

From Brianne Sutton    Oh no, I loved working for Geoff he was always so kind to me. God bless

From John Clarke
I knew Geoff during his time in Lagos, I looked after the Radio System there from 1977 to 1988 and stayed with Geoff and Berget many times at there house on the GRA and although I was there sometimes for weeks on end Geoff would always make me welcome and always make a car available to me as I was never one for being chauffeured around, I have fond memories of Nigeria and particularly Lagos and Geoff was a big part of the BCAL family atmosphere that always greeted you.  For my part I firmly believe the work carried out by Communication Services (Selwin Thomas's Department) helped Geoff and the whole BCAL Operation to function as one, as remember in those days there was no Internet, no Mobile Phone's, not even ordinary Telephone's that worked properly, so Radio was critical. Thanks Geoff for your help and friendship.

From Dave and Caron Phillips
It was a great shock and with deep regret to learn that Geoff passed away. We both joined BUA in April 1969 as redcaps in Service Control, which launched our airline careers. I became a steward with Caledonian in August 1970 and before long found myself opening the aircraft door to be unexpectedly greeted by Geoff at stations in the USA and Nigeria. Some of my crew and I accepted his invitation to join his team at a beach BBQ during a stopover in Lagos which gave us a rarely seen ‘alternative’ view. Geoff will be sorely missed and fondly remembered. Our sincere condolences to his family.

If you would like to leave a message in remembrance please drop me a line anytime

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British Caledonian - A Tribute