Robert John (Bob) Barfoot was born in Warwickshire on the 11th December 1944 and attended the local Grammar School in Rugby where he did well academically. He played guitar and keyboards and in his twenties was a member of a band playing pubs and clubs in Warwickshire.
He worked as a self-employed service engineer travelling all over the country quickly gaining a reputation for being “the” man for the job. Bob worked hard, but he played hard too. He gained a private pilot’s licence and flew his family to all parts of the country for holidays. In addition to his love of flying Bob had a collection of road motorcycles and trials machines that he rode competitively. Narrow-boating was another of Bob’s hobbies. He owned several boats during his lifetime and the family would enjoy holidays exploring Britain’s network of canals. In later life he developed an interest in caravanning and eventually bought a static caravan.
During his eventful life Bob served on the committees of several societies and groups concerned with preserving Devon’s countryside where he lived. He was successful in rejecting several planning applications for structures that would ruin tourists’ scenic views. His expertise in this field brought him to the North-East when he was asked by a local group for help. The attractions of this area resulted in him leaving Devon to live in Darlington, to the surprise of many who knew him!
Bob visited Tees Cottage one day and became a member where he helped with both practical and administrative tasks. His expertise on committees quickly gained him an invitation to join our Board of Trustees where he took on the increasingly complicated role of Finance Director and helped guide the way through the early stages of our charitable status application.
The last few years witnessed deterioration in Bob’s health as his blocked arteries forced him to use a wheelchair, but he continued his work as a trustee from home. He passed away on the 7th October in hospital the after a fall at home led to a bleed on his brain. He was 76 years old.
Bob was well-liked and highly respected at Tees Cottage. He was friendly and easy-going with a keen sense of humour and a collection of fascinating anecdotes about his past, which he shared over lunch or whilst working in a team. Bob was very helpful to me in my role as Secretary and I’d often seek his advice on dealings with external organisations and regulatory bodies and I’d run things past him for comments. He was very supportive and showed his appreciation to volunteers for a job well done. His favourite place during open days was a bench near the entrance to the beam engine house where he would welcome visitors and answer questions.
Our thoughts are with his wife Sheena and his three children, two step-children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Thank you for your good-natured support and camaraderie, Bob. We will miss you.