THE managing director of a Keighley electrical retailer retires next Thursday (August 18) – half a century after founding it.

Geoff Higgins is stepping down from his role at Pennine Plus, in Cavendish Street.

Whilst the business has evolved over the years, it has always retained its independent status.

Geoff, 74, said he had "never not enjoyed work".

He added he would miss his colleagues, but that he was looking to the future and "a new chapter in my life".

"I’ll be able to take my wife out more and will be on hand to see more of my grandchildren!" said Geoff.

His passion for electricals goes back to his early teens, when he started tinkering with radios.

He went to work for Leonard Dyer as an apprentice in Bingley, attending Bradford College to study TV and radio electrics on day release. At that time, Bradford was a key player in the world of television – with Baird in Lidget Green manufacturing the bulk of the nation’s sets.

Geoff’s electrical skills were probably inherited from his uncle, who worked for Jack Ramsbottom – operator of a TV shop and a radio relay system which allowed homes without a radio to listen via a small speaker.

Geoff went on to work for Relay Vision, in Towngate.

He and college friend Geoff Myers then set up a business repairing aerials, before joining Andrew Nutter – who ran a barbers shop in Cavendish Street with Ernest Carter.

"Andrew repaired shavers and we joined him and added TV repair and rental!" says Geoff.

"The shop was called Electric Shavers Ltd, and we added TV so it became ESC (TV) Ltd.

"That was back in the 1970s when everyone rented their television set.

"The TVs were all black and white – the sort with four spindly legs screwed into them."

The company was renamed Pennine TV, and later Pennine Plus.

Satellite technology followed, and the business developed links with tech giant Pace in Saltaire and Sky.

At one time, Pennine Plus ran a workshop in Fleece Street, Keighley, repairing Hitachi sets.

"We were the sole repairer for Hitachi," says Geoff. "Every week an articulated lorry would reverse down Fleece Street; we would unload 60 or 70 large boxes by hand and reload the repaired TVs from the previous week."

The firm now also sells a range of white goods including washing machines, fridges and dishwashers.