It was with sadness that we learned of the passing of our longest serving member Geoff Rose, aged 95.
For over 50 years Geoff volunteered for BHBS – Hospital Radio for Bristol providing commentaries of the speedway from Knowle Stadium, wrestling from Colston Hall and co-presented a weekly sports programme. However Geoff will be best remembered for his programmes Mood for Jazz and Nice ‘n’ Easy and his Bristol City commentaries.
He was described by his former broadcast colleague, Dick Bateman, as an “interviewer of genius”.
Geoffrey T. Rose was born on 8 December 1920 and had supported Bristol City FC since the age of 11. His passion for the “The Robins” would stay with him for life – he was a season card holder up until just last year. Geoff joined Shell-Mex and BP in Avonmouth prior to World War II where he worked until his retirement in 1978.
BHBS began broadcasting in 1952 with Geoff joining the service within a year of its first transmission. He instantly became a regular at Ashton Gate where he would broadcast from the famous commentary box situated in the corner of what was then open terracing. Geoff would go on to cover many other sports for BHBS and became one of the main presenters, alongside Roy de Lancey and Bill Boon, of the weekly Sportsound programme. On this show he was able to hone his interviewing skills although it was definitely easier to listen to Geoff, and his fellow sports experts, than to see him – in the days when smoking in a studio was permitted, the air was thick with smoke!
Geoff didn’t just restrict himself to sport though and from early on in his days at BHBS, once music programmes had been added to the schedule, he presented his long running Mood for Jazz and later his Nice ‘n’ Easy programme. The latter can still be heard every evening – thankfully we kept recordings of this wonderful show with Geoff sharing his love of jazz music. He even saw Cleo Laine perform at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Geoff met his wife, Elizabeth, who was a fellow hospital radio volunteer. During the late 70s and into the 80s, following his retirement from ‘Shell-Mex’ he joined Bristol City’s promotions department and continued to present many shows for hospital radio. In 2002, alongside another BHBS stalwart, Roger Morris, Geoff kicked off the first part of our 99 hour marathon music broadcast to celebrate 50 years of Bristol hospital radio – it should have been 100 hours, but someone forgot that the clocks went forward that weekend!
Although in later years Geoff spent less time in the studio, his contribution over many years, including his time on the programme planning committee, was recognised when he was made the first life member of the service in March 2014. Geoff was awarded an MBE for his work with the Bristol Fire Service, but this was something that he never talked about.
Geoff passed away on 5 December just days before his 96th birthday. He will be remembered by our commentary team at Ashton Gate this evening, but will be missed by the whole BHBS community which offers its sympathies to Geoff’s family.