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Bob French 1906-2002

19th of July 2002

Many in Chipperfield will be sorry to hear that Bob French is no longer with us. Just a month before he passed away on 6 May, he took his last service and preached his final sermon, appropriately in Chipperfield Baptist Church, following a tour of other churches in the area where he had made many friends over the years.

Born 96 years ago in Cambridge, Robert Saunders French spent his early years and went to school in that part of the world. He was a very keen sportsman with a particular interest in cricket, an interest which he kept throughout his long life. He went into business as a salesman for a company which manufactured linen products and eventually became a Baptist lay preacher.

When Bob retired some 30 years ago he came to Chipperfield as Pastor of our Baptist Church and whilst here made a great impact on the residents, both young and old. When he finally handed his post to his successor he remained in Chipperfield for many years as neighbour to Sir William Stabb. Following his ‘retirement to Rickmansworth he was a regular visitor to Chipperfield and was still involved in many village activities.

Bob French had one great passion – railways – and steam trains in particular and I had the great pleasure of accompanying him on some of his recent rail excursions. At 90 he actually drove a steam locomotive at Loughborough! He drove a car up to his 95th birthday and kept his mind active by doing the Telegraph crossword daily. What a character and what a friend.

Bob has two daughters, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren to whom we offer our sympathy.
Terry Simmonds

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