SALTBURN has lost a community activist with the death of Bob Empson who died in his sleep in hospital, aged 83.
Charles Robert "Bob" Empson was born at Lackenby in the depths of the 1920s economic Depression, but he had a fulfilling life ending at Saltburn.
He was well-known in the town for being a volunteer manning the police station desk for several years, freeing officers for other work.
He also took a part in several community organisations and was chairman of Langbaurgh Court Residents' Committee, which ran the block of flats on the promenade where he lived for nearly 30 years.
He stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate for Redcar and Cleveland Council, but was unsuccessful, though he cut the Conservative vote by 47%.
Bob's father helped to build the trunk road between Middlesbrough and Redcar.
He had two brothers, Eric, a borough councillor at Eston, and the late Les. He also had a sister Peggy.
The family moved to Grangetown, Eston and Ormesby, and during the Second World War Bob and his young brother Leslie were evacuated to Canada. Later Bob joined the Merchant Navy, serving on the Atlantic and Arctic convoys.
Returning home after the war he worked at Pacitto's Teesside ice-cream factory and later in London at a large store.
He married Jean Bowden, of Redcar, and got a job as sales representative with steel stockists Stan Thompson Ltd, of Middlesbrough.
"He could sell fridges to Eskimos," recalled brother Eric.
After retiring, he set up his own materials handling equipment business, completely retiring 11 years ago.
"His big interest outside work and the family was swing and jazz. At the funeral at Teesside crematorium we'll play Glen Miller and Artie Shaw tunes," said Eric.
Bob Empson had two sons, Peter and the late Michael, and grandchildren Kaz, Erina, Faye and Rachael.
ACTIVIST: Bob Empson, left, of Saltburn, who has died in hospital aged 83
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|Publication:||Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)|
|Date:||Aug 29, 2009|
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