Farewell to our friend Bob

IT was, like the man himself, simple, uncomplicated and classy. More than 100 people said goodbye to Robert Barltrop in a humanist funeral at the City of London Cemetery in Manor Park. In accordance with the clear wishes of Bob as all his friends knew hi

IT was, like the man himself, simple, uncomplicated and classy.

More than 100 people said goodbye to Robert Barltrop in a humanist funeral at the City of London Cemetery in Manor Park.

In accordance with the clear wishes of Bob as all his friends knew him, he had a send-off with no priest or anything relating to religion. Close family members and friends spoke, and it was more like a meeting of people who knew Bob, rather than a service.

Bob, 86, was at the heart of our newspaper for almost 25 years, writing columns in his own brilliant style. He would appear each week, presenting his article, written on a typewriter, each one carefully crafted and numbered and accompanied with an excellent drawing. His encyclopedic knowledge of many areas made him such a great favourite with readers.


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The farewell to Bob included some of his favourite music, including the Lambeth Walk, writes COLIN GRAINGER, Editor.

Former Recorder Editor Tom Duncan was first to speak at the gathering, saying Bob was part of the Recorder "family". Tom reminded everyone of Bob's fondness for books and the written word and spoke of his love and devotion to his work and family. Mr Duncan said there was a lot of love present for Bob in the gathering.

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Bob and wife Mary, 84, had three sons - circus ringmaster Chris, circus manager Nick and policeman Jon. They all shared their memories of their father, as they do on these pages today.

Chris revealed Bob was due to have been born on November 5 and would have been called Guy, but he arrived a day late!

Nick told how he was a friend to thousands and how he gave generations of people help. Jon detailed all Bob's associations and passions and ended the celebration of Bob's life with a poem by Siegfried Sassoon called Everybody Sang.

There was time for tea and biscuits in a marquee in the grounds of the cemetery where everyone shared some of their memories of the man.

Bob once said of the Newham Recorder. "Those of you who produce the paper may not realise what a superb paper it is. I can tell you how highly it is rated not only in East London but in the rest of the country," he said.

All the Newham Recorder staff attended Bob's farewell. And our readers loved Bob. One devoted "addict" of his column, Ernie Fenn, from Manor Park, made what he called "my own pilgrimage" despite suffering cancer and being 96. "I just had to say goodbye to Bob," he said.

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