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Wilson, Robert (Bob)

On Monday 19th July 2010, Cheshire lost an extremely popular Christian sportsman affectionately known as Bob Wilson, aged 87. Bob, of English and Swedish ancestry, was born in Liverpool on 18th June 1923, and became well known in sporting and religious circles in and around Cheshire. At the age of 12, following a healing meeting at Bank Hall Mission, Bob became a Christian. His Faith sustained him all his life, together with an unshakeable belief in the Power of Prayer, and he dedicated his entire life to serving God in many forms of ministry:- as a Methodist Lay Preacher, a Sunday School superintendent and pianist, a Bible Study leader, and a choir member of The Good News Singers at St John's Parish Church Hartford. Having passed a scholarship at the age of 11, Bob attended Bootle Grammar School where he shone academically as a brilliant mathematician, and as a sportsman in football, cricket and boxing. His talent as a footballer led him to play for a number of teams, including Bootle Grammar School, Dovecott Old Boys and Northwich Loco, but the accolade which he and his parents were most proud of, was that of being selected to play for England School Boys. Bob's hope was that this would lead him to play for his beloved Everton, and subsiquently England, but his schoolboy dreams ended abruptly upon the outbreak of the Second World War during his final year at Grammar School. Bob then decided to serve his country by joining the Royal Navy, where he remained for the duration of the War, as a Morse code operator on an Infantry Landing Craft. This in turn led him to see action in North Africa, Sicily and the D-Day Landings. Between leaving school and being called for duty by the Royal Navy, Bob at the age of 17 worked as a junior accountant at Lime Street Station, where he became a bookkeeper. It was here that he met and fell in love with his future wife Elizabeth Muriel Wilkes, affectionately known as Bette. Her story of Bob's navy telegram became widely known amongst friends. He sent it to her in the New Year of 1944 while he was serving in World War Two, and it simply read - " Home Tuesday. Arrange wedding for Thursday". To her family's credit, they managed to arrange a beautiful white wedding in three days, complete with bridesmaids and a big bouquet of red carnations. Their marriage then took place in Roby Parish Church on the 6th January 1944, Twelfth Night. After the War ended, Bob and Bette settled in Cheshire where they raised their two daughters Vivien and Elizabeth. They began their Cheshire life together firstly in Delamere, then moved to Cuddington, and finally Oakmere during their retirement years. During the 1950s, Bob became a Methodist Lay Preacher on the Mid-Cheshire cercuit, and Superintendent of Sandiway Methodist Sunday School, where he and Bette had such a big influence on the lives of so many young people. He then formed a youth club, and from it began a football team along with members of his Sunday School class. This small team grew into Cuddington Football Club. In return, the club engraved a special silver cup known as the "Bob Wilson Trophy", which Bob himself presented to the Sportsperson Of The Year at the club's Annual Dinner for half a century until recent years. Bob also became a life-long Honorary President of Oakmere Cricket Club. Having originally been a Founder Member of the club, he played with more enthusiasm than talent, as evidenced by the creation of his own personal "duck" symbol, which his younger child Elizabeth would proudly hook onto the scoreboard whenever Bob went in to bat, not realizing what it meant! Bob's brilliant talent in mathematics served him well all his working life. As a Chief Accountant with British Rail, he was chosen to take a college course in computing technology during the early 1970s, which resulted in his teaching the subject to accountants in offices all over Britain, helping them to learn a more efficient way of working for the company. Upon his retirement, Bob was presented with an award by British Rail for his life-long service. Bob and Bette's life together as committed Christians touched the lives of many people. Bob was always ready to help others, both believers and non-believers alike. He lived in his Faith, never seeking to convert others, but his example led many to follow his path. He was rewarded with a circle of close friends who supported him following the loss of his beloved wife Bette. She was his first and only romantic love of his life for over fifty-six years, and sadly passed away in January 2000 at the age of 77. Bob's sense of humour was a big part of his personality, and was widely appreciated by everyone he met. He had the valued ability to turn sad faces into smiles with his quick wit, infectious laughter, and his "cheeky sailor" grin. For those who loved Bob, he will not only be greatly missed, but remembered as a wonderful Christian, and a sheer gentleman! Bob is survived by daughters Vivien & Elizabeth, granddaughter Merilyn, and great grandchildren Nell, Abe & Betty. The funeral was held at St John's Parish Church Hartford, on Tuesday 27th July 2010 at 2.00pm, followed by internment at Gorstage Cemetery. The service was conducted by Rev George Agar, with prayers led by Canon Maurice Marshall.

Wilson Robert (Bob)

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