A Word In Your Ear - June 12, 2014

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A local legend has passedon by – to be remembered not only in our thoughts but in paint and paper.

For Robert ‘Bob the Brush’ Townsend decorated countless Blackpool homes, bringing his gentle, respectful charm along with craftsmanship rare now.

Bob, a short, sturdy chap who greeted all, died last week. He will be fondly remembered throughout the resort, where he worked as painter and decorator with large firms.

However, Bob was finally happiest trading on his own, particularly where he lived in Great Marton.

Honest Bob would be first to admit he was no saint. However, his concern for others showed in how he charged each according to means. Some might say that was no way to get rich. But Bob enjoyed a different sort of wealth – being among people and places he loved. Much of Edmonds Towers felt his brush. But Bob never entered another room without permission.

“I won’t go anywhere in your home, except where you’ve asked me,” he would say.

There was no blaring radio when he worked; all was tidied up each day, and, if he wanted a smoke, he would go outside.

“I’ll just leave my ladders, if you don’t mind –stack ‘em away in the back,” he’d tell customers, for Bob never drove. He loved to walk.

“I enjoy wandering up Preston Old Road,” he told me once. “There’s so much history and every house is different.”

Those comments have now encouraged a book steeped in local history. His self-effacing manner and pride in his craft also inspired the hero in my novel ‘A Brush With Murder’, dedicated to Bob.

Typically, when I told him, Bob said: “You should write about yourself, not me. You’re more interesting.”

That humility and appreciation of others is what made Bob the Brush so special. He’ll be sadly missed but fondly remembered – in both our homes and our hearts. l Visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com for books and more.