A Letter to Bob

My friend Bob Warren

Dear Bob,

It is three years today. I’m not sure quite what you would have made of this wheelie bin of misery since you left.  I’m not sure what I make of it.  All good reasoning eludes me. But I’m ok living in the dark on that.

I remember the first day we met.  You walked into my office and asked exactly what it was I did at the newspaper.  I said I wasn’t entirely sure.  You insisted we talk it through over a decent lunch. That four hour lunch was the start of a decade of decent lunches and an unforgettable friendship…

You were always there for me, well, sort of. Do you remember five years ago I phoned and told you I had fallen off my bicycle and broken my leg? In one crisp and commanding sentence you shot back: “What an extraordinary thing to do.”

Or that day following a vociferous bollocking from the editor who had turned all raging bull on us, you arrived at work wearing your national service medal.  “Dear God why?” I asked somewhat bemused. “Courage under fire old thing, courage under fire,” came your response.

Well there’s no doubt it has been an extraordinary three years without you. Some days when I’m sucked into an unavoidable vortex of rage and despair I miss your sage advice, homespun wisdom, your combination of strength and resolve. But most days I just miss you, your vivacious laughter and above all, your friendship.

They say justice is intrinsic to humanity. That matters less to me. If there were any justice in this uncivilised world, you would still be right here with me. But instead, your friends will gather today and raise a glass to you during yet another decent lunch.

Cheers my friend.

Barlow

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11 Comments on “A Letter to Bob

  1. Pingback: Colonial Girl in Captaincy Terror « GOLFMADCHICK

  2. I remember reading this when you first posted it….. It made me CRY !!! Such a beautiful piece of writing Hayley and a truly special tribute to your friend, Bob xxx

  3. What a beautiful tribute to your friend. I love your honesty in how you portray him.

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I’m glad I could come over and read some of your writing.

  4. I was honoured to be among Bob’s friend and, as the other tributes here have shown, there were a hundred great stories about the legend. Here are two that mean the most to me.

    1. I joined the paper as a callow youth of 26 and was totally intimidated by my job on the world’s greatest paper. Bob, of course, was a bona fide Fleet Street legend by then and he was the only senior exec who took the time to introduce himself and show an interest in a young journalist trying to make his way in the world. That was 18 years ago now but I will never forget his help.

    2. Story two comes from the summer of 2008. Bob and I had offered to help out at the Save Our Streets campaign in Bristol. We travelled down with Belinda and Hayley to help set up the venue. I think it is fair to say that both of us probably saw the event as a rather good away day and our attempts at helping were so pathetic that the ladies ordered us off the premises as they got down to the hard work. With a shrug of our shoulders we retreated to the closest hostelry. It was a pub that had not seen a lick of paint since the blitz and two blokes in suits were greeted with sideways looks from the locals. But within 15 minutes Bob had charmed the Bristolians and when we finally decided to take our leave, we left with their good luck cheers ringing in our ears.
    On our return we were told (ordered) that we had to be in charge of the Green Room, looking after the national and local celebs who were backing our knife campaign. Bob then proceeded to charm Dominic Grieve who was shocked to find that not all NoW staff were neanderthals.
    As some bloke once said: If you talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch.
    Can’t help thinking Rudyard was thinking of our Bobby. Miss you, pal. Sleep well.

  5. I shudder to think what he would have made of the last year, but knowing him he would have found the llight, if not at the end of a four hour ‘decent’ lunch.

  6. Wow, I don’t even know the chap but what an amazing guy. Where ever he may be, know you are so lucky to have had such a great friend. Remember the good times, cos they sound such fun. Life will get better.

  7. This is a lovely tribute Hayley. I remember coming out from a roasting in conference from Rebekah and complaining to Bob that my poor performance was his fault, as we had done a six hour lunch the day before. His solution? A four hour lunch!!!

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