Fond memories of former mayor Bob

Bob Bedford in his role as Mayor with his wife Rosemary
Bob Bedford in his role as Mayor with his wife Rosemary

TRIBUTES have been paid to former Scarborough mayor Harold Robert Bedford, who has died aged 97.

Mr Bedford, affectionately known as Bob, passed away while on holiday in Scotland.

Mr Bedford, of Scalby Road, who was an Alderman of the Borough of Scarborough, was made mayor of the town in 1980 with wife Rosemary as mayoress.

He was also a well-known teacher in Scarborough and represented the Woodlands ward as a councillor.

He and Rosemary had two children, Bruce and Richard, two grandchildren John, 36, and Sara, 39, great grand- daughter Iona, 12, and daughter-in-law Sue.

He was born in Methley, in West Yorkshire, and trained as a teacher at St Paul’s College, in Cheltenham.

His first teaching post in Scarborough was at St Mary’s CE School, in Queen Street, where he worked for two years before moving to the Central County Junior School, in Trafalgar Street West, in 1939.

He served in the RAF during the Second World War, and met his wife while stationed at RAF Driffield.

They married in 1944 in Glasgow and returned to Driffield. He resumed work at the Central School as Senior Assistant Master in 1950. In 1956, and aged 41, he became the first headteacher of the new Overdale County Primary School, succeeding from a list of 97 applicants, before later taking over at Gladstone Road Junior School.

During his tenure at the school, Mr Bedford introduced a highly successful pupil exchange scheme with a French primary school in St Brieuc, in Brittany.

Mr Bedford was also a committed member of the Royal Life Saving Society and became a senior examiner.

He was a member of the Amicable Society - representing the charity at the Scarborough United Scholarships Foundation in 1958 - which gave financial help to local students to further their education.

He carried on in this role well after his retirement in 1980.

Mr Bedford was first elected to the then Scarborough Corporation in February 1969, and then to Scarborough Council in June 1973. He was leader of the council for a number of years and served on a range of committees and was also a member of the governing bodies on several local schools. His sons Bruce and Richard added: “People we speak to who recall their days with our father as their teacher speak highly of his abilities and caring manner. Others talking about his time on the council refer to him as a gentleman who carried out his duties conscientiously and with dignity.

“During these past few years he spent a lot of time with us and enjoyed regular trips to Scotland and France, as well as places of interest both locally and further afield in England.”

Cllr David Jeffels, who worked alongside Mr Bedford for many years, also paid tribute to his former colleague.

He said: “Bob was a great mentor to many young councillors in the 1970s, myself included. As chairman of the Development Services Committee and later as Leader of the Council, he played a key role in developing the strategy and vision for the future of the Borough.

“Bob was not only a councillor whose wisdom was valued by colleagues in all parties during his long career, but he was also a great friend who will be sadly missed by many.”

Mr Bedford’s funeral will take place on Tuesday March 6, at St Mary’s Church, from 12.30pm.