A bereaved family are celebrating a Teesside grandfather’s life by raising money for a cause close to his heart.

Geoff Lowe, of Redmarshall, died in June at the age of 70, after a short illness. Due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions, the family were unable to hold a full funeral for the beloved husband, father and grandfather, and so decided to allow friends and family to pay their respects in a different way.

As a result, they have set up a JustGiving page in Geoff’s honour to raise funds for the High Tide Foundation, a charity created to raise the aspirations of the young people of Teesside, which has already reached over £4,000.

Becky Horton, Geoff’s daughter, said: “As a family, we really wanted to choose a charity which embodied Dad’s values and beliefs and have the chance to give something back as a fitting legacy.

“Dad was a great believer in giving people a chance in life, and so the High Tide Foundation’s ethos and vision aligned perfectly with what we wanted for Dad’s memory.”

Geoff left school in 1964, at the age of 15, with little in the way of formal qualifications.

Apprenticeships, first at a local garage and later as a fitter at Dow Mac Concrete, were to prove the turning point in his career, as he worked his way up the ranks before setting up his own health and safety consultancy.

Becky added: “Over the years, Dad became increasingly disappointed to witness the demise of apprenticeships and lack of opportunities for young people who had a multitude of skills to offer industry.

“It was a source of concern to him that children weren’t given a chance to learn through work and weren’t given opportunities to enter into industry.

“Had he known about High Tide, Dad would have felt really encouraged that work is being done to bridge that gap between education and businesses and that, through various programmes, young people are being offered a chance.”

High Tide is an independent charitable foundation, funded by businesses on Tees Valley, which delivers career experiences through real life work experience programmes.

Chairman Mark Easby said: “While we are so sorry to hear of the Lowe family’s loss, we are humbled that the family has chosen High Tide to benefit from the loyalty and affection Geoff was held in.

“Our passion is the same as Geoff’s was; to ensure the young people of Teesside grow up with high aspirations and a clear view of the career options available to them.

“All of us at High Tide are truly grateful for this kind and generous gesture, and we will ensure that Geoff’s memory lives on.”

Joanna Bailey, CEO of Tees Valley Collaborative Trust, and High Tide Foundation trustee said: “How the family came to find High Tide was purely coincidental. Through discussions between my colleague and Geoff’s wife, we were able to start a conversation and discover how well-aligned the foundation is with his values.

“While it’s a shame we were unable to benefit from Geoff’s experience and wisdom during his lifetime, we hope that through this fundraising and future initiatives, we will be able to continue to inspire generations to come.”

The family hopes to keep the JustGiving page open until 2025, and are also planning other fundraising activities to contribute to the fund.

To make a donation, visit http://www.justgiving.com/geoff-lowe