Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a true community stalwart who worked tirelessly to improve his neighbourhood and Hartlepool as a whole.
Bob Farrow MBE was instrumental in the setting up of the Belle Vue Community, Sports and Youth Centre and helped to secure a £2million extension opened by Tony Blair in 2003.
He died at home on August 24 aged 75.
Friends paid tribute to Bob as a loyal man who treated everyone from cleaners to Government ministers with the same respect.
A former manager of the Belle Vue centre, Bob was also a resident representative, New Deal for Communities (NDC) board member and member of the Local Strategic Partnership.
Councillor Alan Clark, current chair of the Belle Vue centre, said: “Bob was more than just a resident in the Belle Vue area, he was an institution. His warm bubbly character resonated with everyone, young and old.
“Bob saw the good in everybody no matter their background or reputation within the local area.
“He pushed young people to follow their dreams and achieve the best they could when there was nobody in the family setting willing to do so.
“Bob and fellow residents turned around the Belle Vue area to a vibrant community like it is today with opportunities and diversionary activities for the area’s young people.
“The only real surprise to me is that Bob was never knighted for his commitment to public service, but in my eyes he will always be Sir Bob Farrow.”
Councillor Kevin Cranney, a trustee of the centre, added: “He was my friend, colleague, father figure and confidant. I and everyone he met always found him to be Helpful Enthusiastic Resourceful Organised a HERO.
“He was passionate about the area and the residents many of whom called him friend, he showed empathy and compassion to everyone he met and saw the best in everyone.”
Alex Sedgwick, the centre’s current manager, said: “Bob’s passing has left Belle Vue without its staunchest supporter.
“He was a true community leader, loyal, respected, constant and popular. A truly good man.”
Former town mayor Stuart Drummond, now manager of the NDC Trust, said: “Bob gave thousands of hours of his time to try to help make Hartlepool, and especially Belle Vue, a better place to live and it is absolutely fair to say he succeeded.
“His memory and legacy will live on for a very long time however and I will personally remember Bob as one of he greatest Hartlepudlians of his generation.”
Bob, who lived in Bell Vue all of his life, leaves wife Roni, and was also father to Stephen and the late Paul.
He was a granda to Lewis, Luke, Adam, Sarah and Robyn and great-granda of Ellie, Lexy, Autumn and Lewie.
His funeral service will take place tomorrow at St Cuthbert’s RC Church at 2pm.