Tuesday 22 May 2012

A Tribute to Uncle Bob

The first of my "blood" aunts and uncles passed away yesterday at 4pm, UK time, his beloved wife, 2 daughters and grand-daughter were by his side.
Both my parents are the youngest of three children and the health and longevity on both sides of my family is quite remarkable. Uncle Bob was my godfather and bought me my bible when I was christened in 1957. He also delighted in telling me that as tot I assured him that my name was, in fact, Tudor Barbara Gardner!

Robert William Kelsall was Mum's elder brother and the oldest at 85yrs of all these uncles and my aunt Jess, 56years ago this week he met Joan Richardson who was to become his wife and lifelong best friend. They have two adult daughters, Joanne and Deborah, who have both been nursing for many years, and three grandchildren. Here they are on their wedding day with Grandma Kelsall on the left and Mr and Mrs Richardson on the right.

Uncle Bob was born in Preston on October 5th, 1926 and moved with his parents to Lancaster when he was about 4-5 yrs old. They lived in rather squalid conditions in Capshaws Yard where they shared a water tap and toilet with several other familes.

 Fortunately they were able to move into a new council house on Cedar Road where his younger brother and sister were born several years later. Mum recalls being bullied as a child and telling her big brother...he threw a tennis ball down the street at the offender and hit him on the back of the head as he sought to escape!!
He must have been a brilliant young student at Lancaster Grammar School as his interests were wide and varied, his beautiful baritone voice was a delight, he enjoyed mountaineering and fell-walking, photography, even printing his own photos, and worked as a chemist/pharmacist at a Glaxo for many years. A career change saw him lecturing in business studies at the college.

Here are Uncle Bob, Auntie Joan, myself, Mum and Grandma Kel at Redcar on the east coast in the late 50s,

Newspaper articles record his love of music and song....Auntie Joan also taught piano and played at their church, they both belonged to local music and operatic societies,

 Later in life he was the oldest in his computer class at the age 75yrs and also enjoyed delving into our Kelsall family history and sharing wonderful stories. He enjoyed writing to the newspapers, becoming very active in the bid to save the local post office from being closed, it was closed anyway! Uncle Bob loved to watch cricket on TV, it must be in our genes! If you google the Tryfan Cannon you can find many photos of the incredible rock he is standing on the end of in the next photo...

Here are a few of photos of the lovely village where he and Auntie Joan live in a 400yr old cottage on the village green, the house's hallway was once an open alley that sheep were driven through onto the green!

 In 2008 we had a wonderful visit there as Mum and Dad were in the UK at the same time as Joe and I, we had a lovely lunch at the local pub and had our waitress take a few pics of us all together, this is my favourite, Bob, Marge and Tom together again for the first time in far too long!

Joe, myself, Uncle Bob, Mum, Unka Tom and Auntie Joan waiting for our soup!

There is so much more that I simply don't know or remember about uncle Bob and as Mum and Uncle Tom reminisce I will add to this post.

Rest in peace dear man, you have been an inspiration to us all and has been a privilege to know and love you.


  1. How beautiful. I couldn't imagine having sheep run through the house!

  2. What a great tribute to Uncle Bob.

  3. I am sorry for your loss. I think extended families are such a blessing. and you have written a lovely tribute to your uncle.such lovely stories and memories :)