leaving behind a legacy

Saturday 6th October 2018

To think about what you might leave behind when that day finally comes is a thought no one really wants to consider and unfortunately, some of us might not even have the privilege of that option. Keen cyclist Geoff Cleaver sadly passed this year but his passion for cycling and it's bits and bobs allowed his family and friends to do something that will remember him in a very positive way whilst making a difference to the less fortunate...

 

Ardent cyclist and Tamworth resident Geoff Cleaver sadly passed away earlier this year, aged 68, leaving behind a huge collection of tools and bike parts in his garage. In the following months, Geoff’s family thought about how they could best honour his legacy and decided to donate the content of Geoff’s workshop to the national cycling charity Cycling UK, for use by Community Cycle Clubs in Birmingham.

The majority of Geoff’s cycling equipment, which included tools, lights, bike stands, pumps and brake cables, has gone to Ladywood CCC, which specialises in providing bikes to people experiencing homelessness and are living in temporary accommodation. The idea is that having a working bike can be the next step in someone’s life, literally getting them back to work or education, and able to be a part of their community once again. The club also runs regular local social rides for anyone interesting in getting out on a bike in a group, taking advantage of the nearby canal paths.

Dominic Ashton of Ladywood CCC called Geoff’s donation a ‘godsend’, saying, “I knew we could do a lot with it, and we already have. In the next 12 months we’d love to be able to offer bike maintenance sessions and qualifications; this could really impact people’s lives.” Dominic came up with the idea of running a memorial ride for Geoff, a 36-mile route with his regular riders running from the Ladywood workshop in Winson Green to Tamworth, Geoff’s home before he died.

The memorial ride took place on Sunday 30 September, with Geoff’s wife Heather and son Jonathan coming out to meet the riders. Geoff’s family was touched to be show photographs of the club’s newly stocked workshop. Those taking part in the ride were asked to make a small donation to the British Heart Foundation and the Air Ambulance, which came to Geoff’s aid when he suffered a fatal heart attack. The club is also going to get a commemorative plaque for the workshop where Geoff’s tools have been put back to work.

 

Dominic said: “From what I have learnt about him, cycling was a big part of Geoff’s life. This ride was to honour his memory and say thank you to him and his family.” Geoff’s daughter Frances said: “Dad was a cheery, friendly chap and he made a lot of friends along the way. He liked to feel useful and helping others was probably his raison d’etre. Having said that, I think Mum’s still waiting for him to do a few jobs around the house… He had other interests too; he was a lover of all things outdoors and natural, probably the reason he went into dairy farming when he left school. He loved walking, something we often did as a family, and nature, and sharing his knowledge with the next generations.”

Heather said: “Geoff was a very kind and loving husband, father and grandfather, considerate and always wanting to help others. As a family, we all instinctively knew that this would have been what Geoff would have wanted, so the decision was made quite early on.

“If, through this gift, others can be inspired to take up cycling and gain the same level of enjoyment from it that Geoff obviously did, then as a family we will feel that his generous nature lives on. We were unanimous in agreeing that a cycling-based charity would be the best place and would align with Dad’s values. Our actions are not entirely selfless; we have no use for all the equipment and tools, and their value – and the odd container of flammable liquid – were an extra worry that my mum did not need!”.

Geoff was a committed member of Cycling UK-affiliated Tamworth Cycling Club in Staffordshire, taking on numerous roles throughout his time, including chairman. He had the nickname ‘Marmite Geoff’ for his favourite cycling top. Geoff’s son Jonathan added: “Dad's enthusiasm for cycling will live on through his grandchildren, too, having purchased, distributed and maintained bicycles for his seven grandchildren who are dotted across the country. Starting with balance bikes at age two, they've all been taught how to ride on bikes that Dad provided that he moved from child to child as they grew up. No easy feat when they're spread between Essex, Durham and Buckinghamshire!"

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