GEOFF Higgins started tinkering with radios in his early teens.

“After the war a lot of stuff was being sold off - it was a treasure trove of parts. I used to cycle down to Bairstow’s in Keighley on my bike - they sold lots of bits and pieces and I bought the bits that could be used for radios and transceivers. I would mess about with them. I pulled them apart and made new ones.”

Aged 16 he had an amateur radio licence. “My call sign - which I still have - is G3UBD. I did a lot of amateur radio and talked to people across the world.”

With a passion for electrics, Geoff considered joining the General Post Office to work in telephony. “But back then, to me, telephony was just about bits of wire - when you think what it has become, how wrong I was.”

He went to work for Leonard Dyer as an apprentice in Bingley, attending Bradford College studying TV and radio electrics on day release.

At the time, Bradford was a key player in the world of television, with Baird TV in Lidget Green manufacturing the bulk of the nation’s TV sets. At one time it was the most modern and largest TV factory in all of Europe.

“The firm had close links with Bradford College which was very beneficial.”

Baird was later taken over by Jules Thorn who made TVs under different names, explains Geoff. “They were big cathode ray tubes, as big front to back as left to right. The first TVs we sold at Leonard Dyer were so big it took two men to lift one and it cost more than the van which delivered it.”

Geoff’s expertise was such that he himself built a colour TV “using scraps that I got from Baird’s. I was about 16 when I saw my first colour TV - it was awesome.”

With no other electrical wizard in the family, his skill may have been inherited from his uncle Lesley Higgins. Lesley worked for Jack Ramsbottom who ran a TV shop in Keighley and operated a radio relay system allowing homes without a radio to listen via a small speaker.

“Lesley worked for Jack, putting new plates in car batteries. “Those were the days of 'repair, don't throw away',” says Geoff.

He went on to work for Relay Vision in Towngate, Keighley. He and college friend Geoff Myers then set up a business repairing aerials, before they joined Andrew Nutter who ran a barbers on 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 almost everyone rented their TV. With a series of valves plugged in to sockets at the back, people could often fix the wayward picture by “braying on the top,” laughs Geoff.

“TV repairers went around with a big suitcase full of valves. The TVs were all black and white - the sort with four spindly legs screwed into them. They came in 19 and 24-inch. They were very expensive to buy and very unreliable, so everyone rented. It was not uncommon to have a service call to your TV three or four times a year.”

The company was renamed Pennine TV and later Pennine Plus “as we did so much more, like radios and record players.”

Satellite technology followed and the company developed links to technology giant Pace Micro Technology in Saltaire. They also sold satellites on behalf of Sky and one year were voted Satellite Installer of the Year.

At one time, thanks to Geoff coming up with the idea to sell to British forces’ postal addresses, the company supplied satellite technology to members of the military serving overseas.

At one time Pennine Plus company ran a workshop in Fleece Street, Keighley, repairing Hitachi sets. “We repaired Hitachi TVs as the sole repairer for the company. Every week an articulated lorry would reverse down Fleece Street and we would unload 60 or 70 large boxes by hand and re-load the repaired TVs from the previous week.”

The firm joined the pan-European company Euronics and now sells a range of white goods including washing machines, fridges and dishwashers.

“Being part of Euronics gives us strong buying power,” says Geoff, “We can supply products at very competitive prices.”

Staff at Pennine Plus have been on training courses with Dementia-Friendly Keighley to enable them to offer support to customers where it is needed. “Good customer service is very important to us, it’s vital,” says Geoff.

The firm also helps remote communities gain speedy internet access.

And, through a former employee’s contacts, they supplied technological kit to serve Tina Turner’s home in the South of France.

Pennine Plus recently won the Family Business of the Year category at the Bradford Means Business awards.

He admits to finding the technology more of a challenge. “We have a team of young techies who are very good, and I reply heavily on them,” he says. “Even washing machines have wifi in them now. I had one customers whose dishwasher had wifi so he could turn it on remotely.”

Now 74, Geoff loves his trade and being his own boss. “I have never not enjoyed work.”

He is retiring in August, 50 years after the company was formed.

Geoff said: "Pennine Plus have always been forward thinking and looking ahead to the next technological development. For example, the team have already become official installers of Elon Musk's Starlink internet network which uses satellites and the scope for this market is universal.

“I have loved seeing home technology develop over the last 50 years, so I am excited for the next generation at Pennine Plus and wonder what the next 50 years will bring for them.”

While he will miss his colleagues, he is looking to the future and “a new chapter in my life.”

A badminton coach, he is looking forward to playing more often. “I’ll be able to take my wife out more and will be on hand to see more of my grandchildren,” he adds.