Brains behind ‘sea waft’ dies

Bob Rushton
Bob Rushton
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THE talented artist whose iconic image of Blackpool Tower gave visitors not only the flavour, but a tantalising smell of the seaside, has died.

Bob Rushton, who lived in Rossall, was one of the brains behind the country’s first “sniffy” holiday brochure.

Mr Rushton’s design, It Takes Some Licking, turned the inverted Tower into a cone complete with a dollop of ice cream and chocolate flake.

Originally used as an award-winning poster, which even went on display in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and now high on a list of collectable seaside souvenirs, the image then became the cover of the 1989 holiday guide which released a heady aroma of vanilla when touched.

Mr Rushton said at the time: “I tried to depict Blackpool’s most famous landmark in an unusual and subtle way.”

The design was testament to the skills of Rochdale-born Mr Rushton, a talented artist who was proud to have met the legendary Salford painter L S Lowry.

He moved to the Fylde coast and, in 1970, joined The Gazette as an artist, eventually becoming art studio manager before taking early retirement 15 years ago. Over the years he had various commissions, including for Blackpool’s tourism department.

He also had a passion for Rugby League, designing the match day programmes for Blackpool Borough, setting up their merchandising shop, and coaching Fleetwood Tigers’ junior team in the 1980s.

Son Andrew said: “My dad was a talented artist, regarded as one of the best, who chose his family rather than pursue his career.”

Mr Rushton, whose death, at 70, came after a long illness, leaves a widow, Sylvia, children Andrew, Paul and Louise, and five grandchildren.

The funeral is at Carleton Crematorium on Tuesday at 11am, with a request for donations in lieu of flowers to Cancer Research, c/o J P Dell Funeral Directors.