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News > OBs Remembered > RIP - Geoffrey D H Burcher (ORC, 60-64)

RIP - Geoffrey D H Burcher (ORC, 60-64)

Keep your eye on the ball, put your best foot forward, try not to lose your temper – and always be home, with your family, by seven.
16 Feb 2024
Written by Huw Richards
OBs Remembered
Geoffrey D H Burcher (ORC, 60-64)
Geoffrey D H Burcher (ORC, 60-64)

Geoffrey Derek Hugh Burcher: Orchard, 1960 - 1964

Born 23rd March 1947 – Died 24th December 2023

Geoffrey was born in great Malvern where he received his early education along with his sister Laelia. He then attended Christ College Brecon where he played rugby and learnt to shoot.

He became a trainee with Edward & Son & Bigwood and after qualifying he became their chief surveyor. At the Piers Plowman club in Malvern he met his future wife Patricia and on marriage they moved to Halesowen where he continued his pastime of target shooting at Somers Social Club.

By joining Smethwick Round Table, he found lifelong friends who remained with him in 41 club.

Birmingham & Edgbaston Debating Society gave him many thought-provoking evenings.  He was an active member of the Royal Institute of chartered surveyors becoming their area chairman and he acted as property advisor to St John’s Ambulance.

Triumph cars remained one of his passions especially his final Vitesse convertible.

In later years his health became more of an issue and he helped with the running of Harborne Heart Beat. Throughout his life he enjoyed travel around the UK and abroad with many memorable sea and river cruises on retirement.

Music played a large part in his life and he regularly attended CBSO concerts and he also enjoyed live theatre, ballet, and cricket.

His greatest pride was in his two sons Robert and Michael who as he put it ‘have matured into two fine young men, they have had the common sense to marry charming wives Nikki and Rachael and in turn we now have four delightful grandchildren’.

His thanks and appreciation for their friendship and camaraderie goes to all the professionals he worked with over his career in particular the partners and staff at Edward Son & Bigwood who gave him such a professional but practical basis to his professional education and colleagues and clients at what became Chesterton and more recently everyone at Chivers.

Things My Father Taught Me – Reflections by Michael Burcher

Number one – “Keep your eye on the ball”. This advice was given in the context of cricket. My father enjoyed watching the game and was the scorer for the school 1st XI. In later years he could often be found at Edgbaston watching Warwickshire, or the occasional test match.  I was never any good at the game myself, despite these wise words, but they have remained with me. For me they reflect his consistent focus on his priorities: family, integrity and hard work.

My father worked hard and believed in an early start. When we were younger he would drop my brother and me off at school on the way to the office, and we were often the first to arrive. He would then go to work where he practiced the mysterious art of ‘surveying’, which I never understood, but he was careful to always be home by seven for supper. Sometimes he brought work home and sometimes we would go to work – taking the smallest of detours on the way back from a family picnic in order to survey a factory or industrial estate. It took me a while to realise that not all families did this and not everyone carried a tape measure in the boot if their car.

Number two – “Best foot forward”.  My father always encouraged us to persevere and not give up. “Best foot forward” was the motto aged 8 when our little legs complained of the distance on a family walk. This worked by distracting me as I tried to figure out which was the best foot – left or right? Fast forward to my teenage years when he was teaching me how to drive. We did countless loops around the small quiet roads of Selly Park. For some reason, it took me a long time to figure out that you need to slow down significantly before turning a particular corner – that was rather sharp. I can still picture his white knuckles poised on the handbrake, ready to apply some emergency deceleration, as we came in that bit too quickly.  Round and round we went.  Eventually I learnt that the maneuver was better done at 10mph rather than 20mph and he felt comfortable enough to let go of the handbrake. It turns out that the best foot forward is the right foot, but sometimes it needs to be put forward on the brake pedal.

The cricket my father loved was never my sport. I did however follow in his footsteps and play rugby – as did my brother and in fact both of our sons have continued this family tradition.

My father and I were both hampered in this by short-sightedness. Whilst not a barrier to playing, this can make following the nuances of the game hard. My mother reports that it was rarely a problem for my father in practice, apart from the memorable time he found himself alone out on the wing – and the ball was kicked towards him. His moment of glory was at hand! However, unable to actually see the ball, he reverted to his usual mode of navigation – “running to where all the people are” – Unfortunately on this occasion that meant away from the ball.  The outcome of this passage of play is not recorded, but it’s safe to say that my father saw out his playing career as a second row and did not trouble the ranks of the backs.

So as a teenager I was taken to rugby every Sunday morning by my father who would then support from a freezing touchline as I did my best for a Moseley junior side. On one such Sunday morning we drove for an hour or so through the Warwickshire countryside to an away match. On arrival I tried to locate my teammates. They were nowhere to be found. After a minute or two I was recognized by another parent. “Aren’t you in the under 13’s?”

“Yes” I replied.

“Oh! But your match is at home.”

My father was not best pleased that we’d had a wasted journey, and our drive back to Moseley was a quiet one. He did not lose his temper though and in fact I cannot recall him ever doing so. My father was not a man who needed to fill a silence and say something for the sake of it. He taught me that you don’t have to be effusive or showy in verbal displays of appreciation or affection. Quiet, supportive actions and attention can be just as good.

So, there you have it:  Keep your eye on the ball, put your best foot forward, try not to lose your temper – and always be home, with your family, by seven.



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