Jeoff decides on a long goodbye

Jeoff Colls of Connect Dacorum has announced his retirement

Jeoff Colls of Connect Dacorum has announced his retirement

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One of the best known figures in the Dacorum business community has decided to retire.

Grandfather of four Jeoff Colls, 65, the part-time manager of Connect Dacorum, has decided the time is right to enjoy retirement to the full.

Mr Colls, who lives with his wife Lynne at their home in The Apple Orchard, said: “I’ve been enjoying semi-retirement for the last 10 years but have got to the stage in life when I feel its the right time.

“I don’t want to get to such an age that I can’t enjoy it. I get the feeling that now is the right time for me.”

But Mr Colls won’t be hanging up his telephone until he’s found someone to take over the job he’s been doing now for the past seven years. He’s planning to work alongside his successor for six months before stepping away next March, by which time he’ll be 66.

Connect Dacorum has put businesses in touch with charities across the borough, providing vital income for Community Action Dacorum, in High Street, which employs him. There are some 160 business, local authority, school and charity members of Connect Dacorum, each providing if not money then volunteers and equipment for others in need. It has become an internationally recognised group.

“Connect Dacorum has been my baby for the last seven or eight years and I don’t want it to die,” said Mr Colls, who says there has already been a massive amount of interest in the role. “When I applied for the job, I had to look up the meaning of corporate social responsibility but I worked out the details of the role.

“I don’t want my replacement to be a clone of me. They will have to be someone who can develop it and take it on to the next level, including using social media, which I don’t have a clue about.”

Mr Colls, father to sons David, 42 and Jonathan, 38, plans to do lots of travelling, including visiting Australia to see family. But there are no plans to move away from Hemel Hempstead. Indeed, once he’s had a few months of complete rest and relaxation, a bit of DIY at his bungalow home, he envisages popping down to the Volunteer Centre in Marlowes to give some of his time to one of the causes he’s been so supportive of over the years.

Mr Colls sees the popular networking events he organises as one of his biggest achievements at Connect Dacorum. There’s even a hint of a tear in his eyes when asked the question. “When I see businesses meeting at the regular Connect Dacorum networking events and talking with each other, doing business, I think ‘I did that’,” he said.

And there is little doubt that Mr Colls will be a hard act to follow. His boss, Mark Mitchell, the chief executive of Community Action Dacorum, had no hesitation in singing Mr Colls’ praises.

> For details on the role of Connect Dacorum Project Coordinator phone (01442) 253935 or email reception@communityactiondacorum.org.uk

> To find out more about Connect Dacorum, visit www.connectdacorum.org.uk