George Geddes of the Glasgow Humane Society was left an orphan as a baby. He was adopted by a family from Govan and at the tender age of seven he was sent to work 10 hours a day at a silk mill. Being 1833 legislation for child workers had not been heard of. In 1837 there was no St Andrew’s Bridge at McNeil Street a ferry took people across the river at that spot and George often helped his brother who was in charge of it. He joined as an officer of the Humane Society in 1859 and in the first 15 years of his service saved no less than 35 lives. His dedication to lifesaving was recognised by the award of a gold medal by the Glasgow Society. As might be expected of someone who rescued people from a river George was an able oarsman. In a fine contest on Kilbirnie Loch he once beat the then famous Bob Campbell (Champion of Scotland).
George died on 17th January 1889 aged 63. His family headstone includes the inscription “A faithful public servant for 45 years and rescuer of over 100 persons” His post was taken over by his son George II that same year.
This important position with the Humane Society is held today by George Parsonage who himself took over from his late father Ben.