Tributes paid to Chris Geering a ‘Norfolk hero’ who has died unexpectedly

Chris Geering pictured with his daughters Lucy and Sophy Geering and son Toby at the opening of the

Chris Geering pictured with his daughters Lucy and Sophy Geering and son Toby at the opening of the Mermaid Centre in Wells Community Hospital. - Credit: Colin Finch

The daughters of a 'Norfolk hero' and 'anchor of his community' have paid tribute to him after he died unexpectedly.

Chris Geering, who lived in Burnham Overy Staithe, was well-known as a supporter of Wells Community Hospital, an award-winning builder, a former commodore of Burnham Overy Staithe Sailing Club and a passionate Nelson enthusiast.

He died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn on Friday, aged 67, following a stroke.

His twin daughters Lucy and Sophy Geering, 33, said he attended a meeting about plans for a dementia-friendly garden at Wells Community Hospital on the morning he died.

Lucy Geering said: 'He had a great meeting and was feeling very positive. He had not been unwell and his death was a complete shock.

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'He always said that he didn't want to go through a long painful illness like our mum did and he didn't want us to suffer from that, so he got his wish in that way. The staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital did a great job.'

She added: 'He was a lovely father. He was very adventurous and loved the great outdoors, he couldn't stand being in an office and we were always going off on trips around the countryside looking at old houses.'

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The Geerings have been long-term supporters of Wells Community Hospital and were involved in the campaign to save the hospital, which was backed by The Times.

Mr Geering became head of fund-raising and estates management for the hospital after the death of his wife Helen Geering, aged 64, in 2009 after she suffered from kidney failure because of a long-term and terminal blood disorder.

The Geerings raised funds to open the hospital's Mermaid Centre which enables people to have renal dialysis.

It was given its name because Mrs Geering was well-known for playing a mermaid in her village's Christmas show.

Mr Geering, originally from Cambridge, spent six years of his childhood growing up in Uganda.

He left school at 14 and, after winning a pig in a village fete in Little Eversdon, Cambridgeshire, became a pig farmer.

He moved to Norfolk in 1984, initially living in Burnham Market before moving to Burnham Overy Staithe 10 years later.

In 2005 Mr Geering organised a month-long Nelson festival at Burnham Overy Staithe, where Nelson learned to sail, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Mr Geering ran the building company CAMAG Ltd, named after his initials, for 35 years and was continuing to work until he died. His daughters are now running the company.

He was known for his sympathetic barn conversions, for which he won awards.

Mr Geering raised money to help disabled people learn to sail was involved in many aspects of community life. He was often seen with his dalmatian Cleo, who was known as his company's shredder.

Sophy Geering said: 'We've had stacks of letters paying tribute to dad. One described him as an 'anchor of his community' and another called him 'a Norfolk hero.' With his passion for Nelson, I know he would have loved that.'

Mr Geering also leaves behind a son Toby, 47, two sisters, Rachel and Jane and three grandchildren. His funeral is at All Saints Church, Burnham Thorpe, on February 10 at 1pm and is open to all.

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