Farewell to Hastings musician, author and local historian

The Hastings area has lost musician, author and local historian Geoff Hutchinson.​
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​Geoff died unexpectedly recently, aged 80, after suffering a heart attack. He was a guitarist and singer with famous Hastings folk group the Telham Tinkers, who were one of the resident bands at the Black Horse Folk Club, between Hastings and Battle. It was one of the most famous venues for folk music in the south east during the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Geoff featured on a number of albums that were released.

Geoff worked as a typesetter and compositor at the former Hastings News, a free distribution paper, based at Castleham, St Leonards. It was there that he met his long term partner Jan.

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The couple moved to Cackle Street, Brede, where they lived for many years before re-locating to Bexhill at the end of last year.

Geoff HutchinsonGeoff Hutchinson
Geoff Hutchinson

Aside from his music, Geoff developed a love and fascination for local history, which started when he helped his daughter with a school project.

He published his first book on Mad Jack Fuller, the eccentric Georgian squire who built a number of stone follies in the Brightling area, and who saved Bodiam Castle from demolition.

He went on to write a book on Grey Owl, the Hastings born man who became an adventurer in the Canadian wilderness and assumed a native American identity.

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Geoff wrote other well received books on the Martello towers and Lovers Seat and Fairlight Glen, as well as writing a book about the Mary Stanford lifeboat of Rye Harbour, that capsized in a storm in 1928, resulting in the loss of her entire crew. Geoff was a talented public speaker and added colour to his history talks by dressing up and getting into the character of Mad Jack Fuller or Rudyard Kipling. He gave many tours of the Brightling follies in the persona of Mad Jack. Geoff was also a player in the RATCO mummers group, who performed traditional Sussex mummers plays in the Hastings area.

Geoff devoted himself to caring for Jan after she suffered a stroke. He leaves daughters Nadine and Kim, grandson Elliot, and four great grandchildren River, Ivy, Dahlia and Forest.

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