Hartlepool community centre’s fitting tribute to local hero Bob Farrow

Bob Farrow's son Stephen Farrow (middle) with Bob's grandsons Lewis and Luke
Bob Farrow's son Stephen Farrow (middle) with Bob's grandsons Lewis and Luke

A fitting tribute has been paid to a true community hero with the renaming of the centre he helped to establish.

The Belle Vue Community Sports & Youth Centre in Hartlepool has been renamed the Bob Farrow Centre.

Bob Farrow

Bob Farrow

Bob, who died a year ago this month aged 75, was instrumental setting up the original sports centre in Kendal Road in 1985 and a major £2m extension in 2002.

He was awarded the MBE for his work in the community.

Four generations of Bob’s family joined staff for the renaming ceremony on Friday.

They included Bob’s widow Roni Farrow, son Stephen, who travelled up from London, and grandsons Luke and Lewis Farrow, plus Luke’s two-week-old baby son.

Roni said of the gesture: “I think it’s amazing. He would have loved it and his family is really proud.”

Sarah Farrow, Bob’s granddaughter-in-law, added: “It is a lovely tribute to Bob.

“He would have been looking down really proud.”

Bob was one of a group of Belle Vue residents who got together to raise thousands of pounds to build a centre and he managed it for many years.

Alex Sedgewick, the current centre manager, said: “Bob had a long, long involvement with the centre.

“He was the first manager from 1985 up until about 2010 and joined the board of trustees as chairman.

“Bob was a person who promoted Belle Vue and all the things that the area had.

“His influence also spread through his membership of New Deal for Communities.

“After he died last year we felt it was a fitting tribute to him to rename the centre.”

Today, the centre is used by thousands of people of all ages and provides services to people from all over Hartlepool.

They include youth clubs, day nursery, health and fitness facilities, and family and community services.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair visited the centre when he formally opened an impressive £2 million extension which was completed in October 2002.

The scheme was a flagship project of the NDC initiative.

The centre, celebrated its 30th anniversary in July 2015, when Bob paid tribute to its longevity.

A cake made specially for Friday’s renaming ceremony was cut by Sarah Farrow’s 13-year-old daughter Ellie.