After the long-delayed inquest opened yesterday into the deaths of seven passengers on a Croydon tram in a derailment at Sandilands in November 2016, today was spent with family members of those who died reading prepared statements – pen portraits – to described their lost loved ones.
Here is the first: Bob Huxley
One of life’s true gentleman, hard-working, a loyal family man with old school values and always there to help those who needed him, Bob was so many things to so many people.
Loyal, dependable and totally committed to his devoted family of whom he was so very proud, all those who had the pleasure of meeting Bob have had a gap appear in their lives that can never be filled, and nor should it be as some people leave impressions on this life that can never be replaced.
It was on the 22nd of July 1953 in Thornton Heath that Robert Henry Peter Huxley came into this world to proud and loving parents Giovanna and Walter.
Along with his twin and eldest brother, many adventures were to be had for this “spirited” young man, including spending time at school in Italy after their father passed away in 1959.
Always very sporty, Bob had a passion for football that stayed with him throughout his life, and after moving to New Addington, the boys loved the freedom they had with open fields and countryside, and also liberating some of the local farmer’s potatoes at times for a tasty treat.
At the grand old age of 15, the call of the big wide world became too great, and saw Bob leave school and commence an apprenticeship as an electrician, a career he shared with his twin brother and excelled in, giving over 40 years loyal and dedicated service to his profession.
Then one evening on a night out to Scamps Night Club, Bob met a young lady, whom he had grown up with but this time saw her in another light and they became great friends. Soon their friendship turned to love, and in 1979 in Croydon they were married and their journey in life together began with a wonderful honeymoon to Crete.
The couple loved the times they spent together and were very close. They loved to eat out, with a pizza at Fostadora which was always a firm favourite for them after a night out.
Always hard-working, Bob had such a strong work ethic, building a good life for the young couple, and in 1980s they were delighted when their two sons were born.
The boys had a wonderful childhood with Dad always there for them with a love of football, cricket and golf being shared by them, even playing pitch and putt in the snow at Featherbed Lane, and instilling in them a very competitive spirit, encouraging them to be the very best in all their endeavours.
Holidays were always a great favourite for the family, with the US always being enjoyed, heading out for a month at a time and loving the quality time they shared together.
With football being a huge passion in his life, Bob would like nothing better than spending time with his friends for a match and a pint at Stamford Bridge or managing the boys’ local football team. Bob was always there for those who needed him and was a very generous man, not just with material things but with the most precious gift of his time.
Over the years the couple watched with pride as their family grew with his two daughters-in-law being welcomed into the fold. With the joys of grandparenthood being bestowed upon them with the arrival of his two grandchildren.
Family was all-important to Bob and he played his part with passion and faultless devotion.
With a huge personality, a wonderful sense of humor, Bob always took everything in his stride… except on occasion at the bar, as if they missed his turn to be served you might hear the cry of “waiting”, but all with a twinkle in his eye I’m sure, and loved to spend time with his cousins and in-laws, as well as his dear friends whenever possible.
As well as football, Bob loved his music with jazz, soul and Motown always enjoyed, but above all, Bob was always happiest when spending time with his beloved Eileen, and it is with great sadness at his passing that also brings wonderful, lasting memories that Bob leaves with us.
Memories of a wonderful sense of humour, of happiness and good times shared with loved ones and friends, which will be remembered with great affection for generations to come. Bob encouraged and comforted but never steered so through his family and friends tears, we see the blessing of knowing and loving a great family man.
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Read more: TfL considered cancelling tram contract after 2016 crash
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