Geoff Hilton, former editorial director at Reed Business Information and known to many Guild member journalists who worked on farming magazines published by RBI and its forerunners, has died.
Following the merger of Farmer & Stockbreeder with the NFU’s British Farmer in 1971, Geoff became editorial director of IPC Agricultural Press whose agricultural portfolio then included the British Farmer & Stockbreeder, Farmers Weekly, Power Farming, Agricultural Machinery Journal, Poultry World and Poultry Industry.
Working alongside the managing director and chairman John Harris, he was responsible for editorial standards across the group and ran the company’s editorial awards. With the move of Agricultural Press to Sutton some years later and John Harris’s promotion to deputy chairman of Reed Business Information, Geoff became editorial director of RBI and its vast portfolio of titles.
In more recent years he organised the annual Farmer & Stockbreeder reunion with his fellow F&S colleague and Guild member Derek Watson, as well as the Trow-Smith lunch held in honour of Farmer & Stockbreeder’s foremost Editor.
Geoff Hilton had been suffering with a chest complaint for some time and was being looked after by his sister in Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire when he died.
His funeral will be held on February 17 at 2pm., Kingsdown Crematorium, Kingsdown, Swindon, Wilts SN25 6SG. Family flowers only.
Donations to: The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth, Devon c/o Maslin Funeral Service, The High Street, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilts SN4 7AU. Phone: 01793 848700.
Diane Montague: So sorry to hear the sad news about Geoff Hilton. He was one of the most respected members of the agricultural press and I remember him with great affection. Geoff was always courteous and especially friendly and helpful, as I found in my early days, to new entrants to the industry. He was also a loyal supporter of the Guild’s Charitable Trust and always interested in its progress.
Wendy Ryder: Peter and I are very sad to hear about Geoff Hilton. We go back a long way and last saw him a couple of years ago in the Farmers Club after a Farmer & Stockbreeder reunion. He was such a genuinely nice man and from communications with him I know he was happy down in Cornwall with his farming interests. Another friend gone and missed…such is life.
Tony Collier: Sorry to learn about Geoff. I spoke to him on the ‘phone late last year and he was clearly in poor health. He had done much to keep the old F&S team in contact. I first met him four years before I joined IPC when I worked for farmer and broadcaster John Cherrington. Geoff came with a photographer to take location shots of John who wrote a regular piece for the journal.
Trevor Hayes: I worked with Geoff Hilton in the 1980s at Reed in Sutton; he was always very courteous and helpful.
Richard Lee: Geoff was most helpful to me when I was made editor of AMJ (Agricultural Machinery Journal), always reading the issue just published and writing notes on how an item might have been better said, etc. On one occasion he told me he had gone ‘hot and cold all over’ when finding himself seated close to a person I had roundly criticised in the magazine! He did not castigate me – but I certainly took note if future occasions prompted a tough stance!
Michael Berendt: I very much share the appreciation which others have given – Geoff was a straight, gentle character, a great support for young journalists on the F&S, a good journalist himself and with wide knowledge of farming.
Senior members of the Guild may be able to help identify who is pictured in this image besides Geoff Hilton. Former Farmer & Stockbreeder staffer Murray Sandeman, who later worked on Power Farming and Crops, has been identified over Geoff’s right shoulder. But who are the others? Please email website editor Peter Hill.
Former Farmers Weekly news journalist Trevor Hayes has identified Michael Berendt behind Geoff Hilton’s left shoulder. He worked on farming papers before becoming a spokesman for the European Commission in London and Brussels. He later set up his own PR company in the Belgian city and continues to work as a consultant and commentator on EU matters.
Maureen Waite, pictured far left has come up trumps. She confirms Murray Sandeman and Michael Berendt and adds (from left in the background): farms manager Bob Starling, photographer Reg Warner, Roy Crisp (foreground), Ron Easton, Michael Ball, Geoff Croft, Roger Barrett and Shirley Lyon-Lee.
That leaves just the lady seated in front of Reg Warner to identify……any suggestions?