Man who was many things to many people

ROBERT – my father, Bob – was many things, to many people. Some knew him best as a school-teacher, some knew him as a socialist and political speaker, as a researcher into family history, a keen enthusiast for Speedway, or as a local historian. Others en

ROBERT - my father, Bob - was many things, to many people.

Some knew him best as a school-teacher, some knew him as a socialist and political speaker, as a researcher into family history, a keen enthusiast for Speedway, or as a local historian.

Others enjoyed the talks he gave over many years to countless groups and organisations, perhaps about his life growing-up between the two world wars or about circus life, or heard him interviewed on television and radio.

Many will have seen his superb illustrations in books and comic papers without knowing they were his: In the early 1960s he drew some of the story-pictures that appeared in Judy, the girls' comic, and Jon and I, along with bits of our home and our furniture were often included in these illustrations. More recently, Bob was, of course, known and loved for his drawings of East London and his weekly column in the Newham Recorder.


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For us, his three sons, each born into a different decade, I think he was many different things, too: watching Motorcycle Speedway and Leyton Orient with Chris and encouraging him when he competed in Cycle Speedway, coming to applaud the noise made in pubs and clubs by the bands that I played with, or supporting Jon as a footballer - these are just a few brief examples how he and Mary always gave encouragement to whatever we did, always took an interest and gave help when it was needed.

He had an almost inexhaustible stock of stories and tales, many of which have been related in the Recorder over the years.

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These stories were never embellished or made either more heroic or less likely as time went on; perhaps this is one reason that helped his weekly column to ring so true for me and for so many others, because we could recognise the situations and episodes and, so very often, the simple common-sense in them.

In everything he did, in all these many aspects, what stands out for me is that Bob was always a contributor, was always generous in giving freely of his knowledge, of his many skills and of his time, but most of all, of his enthusiasm and his encouragement. - NIC BARLTROP.

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