Dagenham’s Sydney Russell School reunion stalwart Bob Miller dies at 65
08:43 27 August 2014
A former policeman who organised the annual reunion for a Dagenham school has died aged 65.
Bob Miller was born in Fanshawe Crescent in 1947. He attended Alibon Primary before progressing, along with his entire class, to Dagenham County High, now Sydney Russell School.
A talented sportsman, Bob boxed with Graham Moughton, who represented Great Britain at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and played football.
He was also a promising actor and wrote about his early years in a Post People feature two years ago.
“My English master thought I had a good, booming voice,” he said.
“When I was about 14 he put me forward for an audition for the National Youth Theatre.
“I had to learn a piece from Shakespeare’s Henry V and I remember one of the people who listened to me at the audition was Sir Alec Guinness.
“Some time later, a letter arrived to say I had got a place, but, as my father has the same name as me, he opened it.
“He was disgusted, ripped the letter up and told me there was no way I was going to hang out with a ‘load of poofs’. So that was it.
“I later found out that the intake that year included Helen Mirren, Ian McShane and Stephanie Beacham.”
A regular at the reunions of Dagenham County High alumni, he took over their running in 2001.
Bob leaves behind wife Maureen, 63, daughters Claudia-Jane, 37, and Candice, 35, plus two granddaughters.
“He was a gentle, loving, family man who was respected by many – inspirational, always positive and always smiling,” said Maureen. “He had a huge breadth of knowledge and enriched many people’s lives.”
A keen Daggers fan, Bob still attended matches reguarly, despite spending his later years in Chelmsford, where he rose to the police rank of detective inspector.
Guardian journalist and blogger Roy Greenslade was a year above Bob at secondary school.
“He was one of the most delightful people I ever met,” he told the Post.
“He was a great organiser and always had an optimistic outlook.
“He genuinely loved people and enjoyed conversation and argument. He had a terrifically positive outlook on life and nothing was too much trouble for him.
“I will miss him greatly, as will hundreds of others.”
• Bob’s funeral will be held at Chelmsford Cathedral on Monday, September 15, at 1pm