Family remembers much-loved former Stevenage mayor and borough councillor

PUBLISHED: 17:25 14 April 2020

Former SBC councillor Bob Fowler sadly passed away on Easter Sunday. Picture: Supplied

Former SBC councillor Bob Fowler sadly passed away on Easter Sunday. Picture: Supplied

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A former Stevenage Borough councillor’s family has shared a touching tribute after he sadly passed away over the Easter weekend.

Bob Fowler in his teens. Picture: SuppliedBob Fowler in his teens. Picture: Supplied

Bob Fowler, a life–long Quaker, Stevenage Borough Councillor for more than 30 years and former town mayor passed away peacefully on Saturday at Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

He had a number of underlying health condtions and eventually succumbed to COVID–19, surrounded by the loving care of NHS professionals.

Born within the sound of Bow Bells and lived in Catford, the second of four children to parents Alec and Jessie, Bob was one of the few to pass the eleven-plus exam and obtain a Grammar School education.

His younger brother Mike recalls how as a family they all attended St. Lawrence’s Church in Catford, where Bob played an important part in Anglican worship as a Church Server.

He later applied to the Church Of England for “Holy Orders”, to be ordained as a priest, but when he was asked to reapply, he changed course and decided instead to go into teaching religious education and history.

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Bob was married to Sylvia for over 30 years before they divorced, and was a father to their four children, Jacqueline, Belinda, Ruth and Luke, grandfather to eight and great-grandfather to three.

Having moved to Stevenage in 1965, Bob and Sylvia joined the Quakers as young parents and their children were raised as members of the Society of Friends.

Bob was also a popular secondary school teacher in two local towns, Stevenage and Hitchin, namely as the Head of Religious Education at Chells Secondary School during the 1970s and 80s.

He was also a Labour Councillor for Bedwell ward before moving across to represent St. Nicholas, in a period that spanned from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. He chaired Stevenage Council’s Planning Committee throughout the 70s and the 80s, having a decisive influence on the future housing of the town.

Bob was mayor of the town twice, together with Sylvia asm ayoress, in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Year 1977-1978 and later again in 1991-1992.

In his final months and weeks Bob regularly enjoyed family visits to his sheltered care accommodation at Abbeyfield in Stevenage, where he was a much-loved resident for many years.

Bob’s family would like to pay a huge thank you to all the staff at Abbeyfield who went way and beyond in recent years in attending to Bob’s personal care and medical needs around the clock.

One lasting memory, that will remain with the family happened just five weeks prior to his passing: having been an outstanding chess player and teacher during his time at Chells, at 84 years of age he was still able to beat his eldest daughter at chess.


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