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Passionate reporter from Dartford press agency lived to break news

Dartford-based press agency Ferrari is mourning the death of its former owner Geoff Garvey.

Geoff Garvey. Picture: Ferrari Press Agency
Geoff Garvey. Picture: Ferrari Press Agency

The Kent-born journalist went onto become chief crime correspondent for the Evening Standard in the 1990s and also worked for the Sunday Mirror.

Former Mirror editor Roy Greenslade said: “Geoff’s face – as pictured here – was almost always wreathed in a big smile unless, of course, he was arguing about why his story had not got the prominence it so obviously deserved.

“He was a passionate, hard-working reporter who lived to break news stories and, over the years, broke many of them.”

He helped many keen young reporters get their first shifts in Fleet Street, often leading to staff jobs.

Long before computers, mobile phones, and social media, Geoff relied on the tried and tested methods of great contacts and a nose for a story.

He normally worked with just one or two young trainees, from a modest office in Sidcup - above a travel agents - although the agency always retained its name Ferrari of Dartford.

He was brought up by his mother in Chatham and attended the Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School, a grammar school for boys in Rochester - known as the Rochester Math School.

On his 17th birthday he joined the Chatham News. It was the start of an amazing career in journalism.

He set up a talent night at the Rochester Casino Rooms – a well known music venue in the Medway Towns– where he once memorably pulled the plug on a young David Bowie.

Clearly not cut out for pop music management, Geoff was better off sticking with the career path he was good at – journalism.

After completing his indentures on the Chatham News, Geoff had his first spell at Ferrari Press Agency under the legendary Lino ‘Dan’ Ferrari.

He then joined the Kensington Post before working for The Press Association as a reporter.

In 1969 he was offered the opportunity to buy the Ferrari Press Agency. In 1990 Geoff was offered what he joked was a “proper” job when he was approached by the Evening Standard to join them as chief crime correspondent.

In the mid 1990s, Geoff was diagnosed with a heart condition which ultimately forced him to leave the Standard.

He made contact with Australian magazine Woman’s Day and was hired to read British national papers each night, listing celebrity and Royal stories the magazine might be interested in.

The contact in Sydney he would telephone was Diane Blackwell – Di to her friends. They married in 1997 in Sidcup.

Geoff’s health deteriorated in 2012. But despite lengthy spells in hospital his mobile phone and contacts book remained constantly by his side. Again, he was never off duty.

Geoff passed away peacefully at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich on the evening of March 6, aged 70.

He leaves behind his wife Diane, children Antony and Sue and four grandchildren.

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