Family pay heartfelt tribute to Suffolk writer with passion for walking

Walking enthusiast, Geoff Pratt with some of the numerous guide books that he wrote.
Picture: JERR

Walking enthusiast, Geoff Pratt with some of the numerous guide books that he wrote. Picture: JERRY TURNER

Tributes have been paid to a “pioneering” Suffolk writer – best known for his walking guides around the county – who has died at the age of 90.

Geoff Pratt.

Geoff Pratt. Picture: JERRY TURNER

Geoff Pratt moved to Suffolk from Portsmouth with his wife Jean and three children, David, Marion and Roger, in the early 1960s.

Following a successful career as a civil engineer with Ipswich Borough Council, Geoff and Jean began writing a column for the East Anglian Daily Times called ‘Walkers Way’, outlining the couple’s favourite rambling spots in the county.

Together they wrote hundreds of articles, penning one a month for 22 years.

The column eventually led to the pair being commissioned by Countryside Books to write ‘Suffolk Rambles’.

Four more books followed, branching out to cover routes in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Jean passed away in 1998 at the age of 70 but Geoff vowed to carry on, writing another three books on his own. Together the seven walking guides sold more than 33,000 copies.

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Mr Pratt’s son Roger said his father was passionate about his hobby and wanted to share the very best places to ramble in Suffolk.

“He was great,” he said.

“He was very wise and gentle-mannered man.

“He was very passionate and dedicated to his hobby.

“What they were doing with the books was pioneering. He did all the art work, drawing the all walking routes, himself.

“These books are commonplace these days but back then they were original and ahead of their time.

“They would describe the walks, usually tied in with a pub.

“We used to go out walking together as a family and see people with one his books.

“That was lovely.

“We got a lot of great feedback about them over the years.

“But he did it for the love of it, it was his retirement project.”

Roger said his parents’ books were so popular in Ipswich, on one occasion they had four in the top ten best sellers at the town’s Waterstones – reaching first, second, third and tenth in the chart.

Mr Pratt leaves eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

A thanksgiving service celebrating his life is being held at Colchester Road Baptist Church on Friday, May 4, at 12pm.

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