ROBERT 'Bob' Harrison was a man who was always up for a laugh. For 24 years, both he and his wife Janet were the welcoming landlords of a South Derbyshire pub.
A man who never liked to make a fuss, the father-of-three died following a battle with cancer on July 16. His widow Janet has paid tribute to a man she described as friendly, outgoing and who never intended to become a full-time landlord.
The couple took over the Seal Inn, in Main Street, Netherseal in 1977 having bought it from Bass brewery. When they moved to the village from Leicester, the building was boarded up and in need of work.
Janet, who had grown up in a pub environment was the registered licence holder and Bob, who was a self-employed plumber, would be in charge of the maintenance. However their plan soon changed.
Janet told the Mail: "Bob was originally going to be in charge of looking after the building, but running the pub soon took up so much time that he gave up his plumbing job and moved behind the bar with me. It was something that he soon found he enjoyed doing.
"We always wanted to make the pub a focal point for the community and Bob was brilliant at that. If ever there was a game of pool or dominos going on, he would always go over and offer to join in and play against our customers. He was somebody who didn't like losing.
"We also had parties at Halloween and a disco on New Year's Eve, which he also took part in. Generally speaking, he used to like to stand behind the bar and tell jokes to the people he was serving."
Running the pub allowed them to see how the local community coped with day-to-day life. Janet vividly recalls the hardship suffered following pit closures as well as the introduction of the poll tax.
Together the couple had three children – Kelvin, Denise and Steven – and were proud grandparents to Natalie, Leanne, Hannah and Louie. Janet says Bob did not fuss over the children but was proud to be both a dad and a grandad and was always on hand to listen to any problems.
Bob and Janet left the Seal Inn in 2001, when they decided to retire. Much of their time together was spent looking after their grandchildren.
Janet said: "Bob wasn't really a cuddly grandad, so to speak, but he enjoyed spending time with the children. He enjoyed being a grandad."