A “massive figure” at one of Spalding’s flagship sports clubs and a pioneer of the Rotary movement in South Holland has died, aged 72.
Geof Nichols passed away in the early hours of Friday morning after an 18-month battle with leukaemia.
Heartfelt tributes to Mr Nichols have poured in from both organisations after his work in founding the Rotary Club of South Holland in 1983, alongside his involvement with Spalding Rugby Club for 35 years.
A Spalding Rugby Club statement said: “Geof had been fighting a courageous battle against illness for the past 18 months and, during that time, his drive and enthusiasm to lead the club never diminished.
“We will be forever indebted to Geof for his remarkably long and consistent period of dedication to Spalding Rugby Club, all through our very successful years and more difficult times with relegation.
“Geof has been a dependable and guiding influence, always realising that the rugby club needed a combination of good governance and good fun, and he will be greatly missed by club members and the wider rugby family.”
We will be forever indebted to Geof for his remarkably long and consistent period of dedication to Spalding Rugby Club, all through our very successful years and the more difficult times
A minute’s silence was observed before Spalding Rugby Club played on Saturday and after the match, captain Sam Cooke described Mr Nichols as a “massive figure, with a massive heart”.
But Mr Nichols was also a leading Rotarian, holding posts which included South Holland Rotary Club president, district youth officer, district secretary and assistant district governor.
A tribute on behalf of his wife Sue, daughters Caroline and Georgina and three grandchildren said: “Geof was an active, hands-on Rotarian who supported his club’s work in the local community.
“recognised by his fellow Rotarians with an award for his contribution to both local and international communities, Geof was the recipient of an enhanced Paul Harris Fellowship (from Rotary International in appreciation of his substantial contribution to Rotary).
“He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”