Death of former nightclub owner

Geoff Metcalfe, the former owner of the El Tropicano nightclub in Nelson who has died at the age of 69.
Geoff Metcalfe, the former owner of the El Tropicano nightclub in Nelson who has died at the age of 69.

The former owner of one of the area's best known nightclubs has died.

Geoff Metcalfe, who was 69, owned the El Tropicano in Nelson, known affectionately as "the Trop," for around 20 years after be bought it in the early 1980s.

But his connection to the club dated back to the 1960s when it operated as a casino and Geoff was a croupier and gamblers played with chips decorated with golden palm trees.

He also worked as a doorman at the establishment when it was owned by Michael Hartley, a high profile figure in the area who was known for his dapper dress sense and sports cars.

Geoff's son Kevin said: "Michael took my dad under his wing and he worked for him at the Trop and also for the many other properties he owned across the North West, collecting rents."

A former pupil of Walter Street Primary School in Brierfield, Geoff attended Nelson Grammar School and began a career in engineering.

But he was not happy in the profession so he became a pharmaceutical rep during the day and worked at the El Tropicano in the evenings.

Kevin added: "My dad had a great work ethic and I never knew him to have a day off ill ever in his life. He was a great provider."

In the mid 1970s Geoff set up his own haulage and removals company that started with one lorry. By the 1980s he had a fleet of several wagons and a successful business.

And while the company vehicles had his name emblazoned on them he was never too proud to work as one of the drivers, making deliveries all over the UK.

When Geoff took over at the El Tropicano in Hibson Road, it was at the height of its success as a popular disco and nightspot and he enjoyed the kudos it brought him.

But he was still very much a grafter who involved himself in every aspect of the business.

Geoff was also professional enough to keep a distance from the customers so that he was able to handle any trouble when it flared up.

Keen to try new ideas to put the club on the map, in the 1990s Geoff installed a huge laser on the roof which could be seen for miles around.

There were so many complaints and reports about it, including many stating it was a UFO, the civil aviation authority became involved and he was forced to remove it.

Geoff sold the club in the early 2000s as the era of the nightspot was coming to an end due to new licensing laws.

He retired and moved to Clitheroe to make a new start but he also had a holiday home in Spain that he loved to visit regularly.

Geoff leaves his son Kevin, daughter Angela, his mum Jean and three grandchildren.

His funeral will be held tomorrow at Burnley Crematorium at 1-40pm.

Geoff's family have requested that everyone wears a splash of colour to the service.

There is a request for family flowers only but donations can be made to Pendleside Hospice c/o Alderson and Horan Funeral Services, 128, Rossendale Road, Burnley.