Opinion: Bob was a gentleman and passionate about town
- Credit: Nick Butcher
I was saddened and surprised when I learned that former Waveney MP Bob Blizzard had died at the age of 71.
I can’t claim to have known Bob well but I had met him several times over the years and always found him interesting, personable and above all, passionate about Lowestoft.
Indeed, my first dealings with Bob came in April 2015 when I was coming to the end of my second year at university in Essex and he was standing again for re-election having narrowly lost his seat in 2010.
As part of an assignment, I was required to write an essay about a chosen issue affecting a local town and to my mind, I couldn’t think of a bigger one than the prospect of Lowestoft receiving a third crossing.
At the time, the notion of a third crossing, which will soon become a reality in a landmark £126.75m move, couldn’t have looked further away from happening.
And as someone who campaigned heavily in favour of it, I reached out to Bob in the hope that he would take time out of the campaign trail to help a student who he had never even heard of before. It is such a shame he will not get the opportunity to witness its unveiling first hand.
To my surprise, he emailed back within hours agreeing to help to which I hastily sent him some questions to answer. Two days later, and already demonstrating signs of the pushy journalist I would one day become, I chased him for the answers urging him that I “had a deadline I couldn’t miss”, to which Bob replied, “I will try but I have a deadline too – to win an election!”
That exchange demonstrated Bob’s fiercely competitive nature and to his credit, he promptly replied the following day with everything I had asked for and more.
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Upon graduating, I returned to the town and began to volunteer at Lowestoft Town Football Club as press officer. In the role, I dealt with many passionate fans of the Trawlerboys over my three years in the post and Bob was one of the most vocal, and opinionated supporters that was always reliable for an opinion on matchdays.
A gentleman. Thanks, Bob.