‘Local legend’ Bob Ford dies, aged 75

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BOB FORD, a leading light on Scarborough’s pub-gigs circuit for 40 years, has died, aged 75.

Mr Ford, known to many as Bobby, had an aneurysm in his stomach and died of kidney failure in Scarborough Hospital.

He weighed seven and a half stones, having lost four stones over the course of a long illness.

“He was an amazing man, full of fun and a man of many talents,” said his wife Jill.

She described her husband as a daredevil who loved parachuting at Grindale and flying in hang-gliders, microlights, paragliders, etc. He once crashed into the south bay in a microlight.

Mr Ford, of Gildercliff, was very popular and had a lot of friends, many of whom attended his funeral at Woodlands crematorium.

Family members carried Mr Ford into the chapel to the strains of Brothers in Arms, by one of his favourite bands, Dire Straits. The service also featured two Shadows tracks: Apache and Man of Mystery - “because that’s what he was”, said Mrs Ford. There were no hymns as Mr Ford wasn’t religious.

Tom Ward, who played guitar with Mr Ford, struggled to hold back the tears as he delivered a eulogy which received a standing ovation, said Mrs Ford.

At Mrs Ford’s request, Pattisons florists in Falsgrave created a floral arrangement in the shape of a guitar, with a broken string.

At the funeral, £172 was collected for ward 33 at York Hospital, where Mr Ford had been treated.

Mr Ford was born in South Shields and brought to Scarborough by his parents when he was a few weeks old.

After a spell in the army, he was a coalman for many years then became a bus driver for United and later Scarborough & District. He retired when he was 65.

He had four children by his first wife, Linda: Alex, Lance (who died about 10 years ago), Tracey and Teresa. Alex had twins, Tracey had a daughter and Teresa had three sons, the eldest of whom made Mr Ford a great grandfather.

In addition to his six grandchildren, Mr Ford adopted the grandchildren of his third wife Jill, who called him Granddad Bob.

Bob and Jill met through a piece of judicious matchmaking by Bob’s nephew Ronnie Ford, who owns the Oasis café on the seafront. Jill was babysitting her eldest granddaughter, who turned 18 last Thursday. Ronnie arranged for Bob to ring and ask her out. The couple married 14 years ago.

Mr Ford was best man at the wedding of one of his oldest friends, Dougie Tordoff, who he’d known since they were 11. Dougie’s wife June had known Bob almost as long, since he was 16. When Bob was in Hull Hospital, Dougie and June gave lifts to Mrs Ford, who doesn’t drive.

Over 40 years, Mr Ford played lead guitar in various bands including Silas, the Coasters and the Orbison 4 (with Stan Wright), at numerous pubs including the Barrowcliff, the George, the Cricketers and the Candlelight, none of which are still around today. Writing about Silas in the Evening News, reporter Barry Hampshire stated that Mr Ford had “been playing lead guitar with rock bands since the axe was invented”.

Mr Ford hadn’t played for about 10 years and sold his guitar and amplifier a few years ago.

He had three brothers who died before him: Jimmy, Raymond and Dennis.