The Lyonian Office was delighted to welcome Old Lyonian Bob Lowe back to the School during 2013, when he presented to boys of the Lower School many of his memories of his time here at the School. Bob had not returned to the School since leaving in 1939 and was delighted to see the developments that had taken place during that time. In September 1939 he left school and was evacuated with his parents to Brackley in Northamptonshire with the headquarters of Bakelite Ltd on Government instructions. In 1941 Bob was called up and drafted into the Royal Army Service Corps, raising to rank of Captain and departed for East Africa to train troops there. Bob went on to serve in the Burma Campaign for which he was awarded the Burma Star.
Although now 92, Bob shows no sign of slowing down, as he said in a recent email "there is still life in the Old Boy!" and so he continues to prove. He recently became the first Community Champion for Esther Rantzens project Silver Line which offers a life line to elderly people who are on their own in their community, and was personally invited by Esther to the launch of the project.
In recognition of his tireless volunteering within his home community he was also named as New Milton Citizen of the Year 2014.
All of this has catapulted Bob into the spotlight with radio interviews, TV appearances and articles in the Daily Mail and The Telegraph. He even figured on the programme Sports Relief in a short film about Silver Line.
Behind all of this is a beautiful love story, one that began in the summer of 1937 when Bob, then a pupil at The Lower School of John Lyon met Kath in the park in Harrow. In 1946, two months after Bob was demobilised, they were married in Pinner and were together 65 years until Kath passed away.
During one of his radio interviews Bob read a poem he had written for Kath and it had radio listeners across the globe spell bound.
Ode to Kath by Bob Lowe
I am alone, now I know it's true
There was a time when we were two
Those were the days when we would chat
Doing little jobs of this and that
We'd go to the shops and select our meals
But now I'm alone I know how it feels
To try and cook or have meals on wheels
The rooms are empty there's not a sound
Sometimes I'm lost and wander round
To look for jobs I can do
To bring back the days when we were two
When darkness falls and curtains drawn
That's when I feel most forlorn
But I must be honest and tell the truth
I'm not quite alone and here's the proof
Because beside me in her chair
She quietly waits our time to share
Kath said to me some time ago
Darling when the time comes for us to go
Let's mix our ashes and be together
So we can snuggle up for ever and ever.
This poem continues to reach new audiences with Bob invited to the House of Lords to recite it and to make a speech to mark Silver Line's 1st Birthday. A few days later Bob attended a reception at 10 Downing Street hosted by David Cameron during which he also met John Snow and John Major.
On 27th December Bob will be back on TV in a pre-recorded chat show hosted by Davina McCall so he is certainly not slowing down!
Bob is very proud of his time at The John Lyon School and never misses an opportunity to talk about the School and its achievements.
The interview by Frances Hardy of the Daily Mail can be found through this link.
Further information on the work that Silver Line undertakes can be found here.
We would like to wish Bob luck and best wishes for 2015 which it would appear is going to be just as busy for him as 2014!