Northern Group

Geoff Rumney – 1936-2021

Geoff Rumney, who died on Boxing Day in 2021, showed courage both as a fearless newspaper reporter, never being afraid to campaign on a host of issues in his columns, and also when he faced and recovered from cancer twice.

Geoff was actively engaged in Group affairs and activities after joining us in July 1974. He served as our chairman from 1986 to 1988 and edited our newsletter from 1979 to 1988.

Geoff was motoring editor for the Lancashire Evening Telegraph and Blackburn Evening Star until he was made redundant in 1992 after 28 years with the company. Thereafter he became a successful freelancer until 1997 when he accepted an invitation to become one of our first life members.

A true professional, Geoff played a leading role in protecting the jobs of bona fide motoring journalists, never hiding his scorn for what he called “freeloaders” and people in other professions offering inexpensive or free road tests to newspapers along with manufacturers supplying their own road tests they claimed were “independent.”

He was instrumental in our decision that Group members should not travel by air if only one pilot was on board. In his newspaper column he called for caravans to be banned from our roads, describing them as a menace to all road users.

Geoff was also competitive; he was named the north’s top daily newspaper columnist in our Group’s motoring writer of the year competition in 1977 and collected many other awards for journalists.

On motoring events both in the UK and abroad he would organise and conducts singalongs as we retired to the bar after a long days’ driving. He was a wicked magician in “Aladdin”, a pantomime we staged during a launch in France, and he also umpired several of our annual cricket matches against the industry eleven.

David Whinyates encapsulated all our thoughts in his newsletter tribute. “Geoff was one of a kind. Passionate, controversial, serious on topics close to his heart but always game for a laugh.”

The son of a vicar, Geoff is survived by Margaret, his soulmate for 68 years, four children, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Contributed by Alan Domville.

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