Wiltshire reporter Bob Randall dies aged 80
29 February 2012
Proud NUJ member and former Wiltshire Times reporter Bob Randall has died aged 80. Bob was the paper's Warminster reporter for almost a quarter of a century to 1986 and he frequently covered his patch by bicycle.
He was the Warminster correspondent for the Bath Chronicle. From 1986 to 1991, when he retired, he was The Times' reporter for Melksham. A lifetime member of the National Union of Journalists, he would cycle from Warminster to Trowbridge for union meetings.
He was proud of being of the old school of journalism, courteous and painstaking and with a gentle sense of humour. He earned the respect of his contacts in all walks of life. He died in Salisbury Hospital on Feb 25.
Bob Randall grew up in Reading, leaving the town for his two years of national service in the RAF, mostly at St. Athan in Glamorgan, where he was a policeman and in the mountain rescue team.
He then lived in Canada for four years where he worked for the Canadian Press news agency in Halifax and Toronto, among other jobs.
Returning to England in 1956, he went back into journalism in 1958 on the Edgware Post and Edgware Times before moving to Warminster.
As a young man, Bob, who was over 6ft tall, was a keen oarsman in England and Canada, belonging to Reading Rowing Club and the Mic Mac Rowing Club, named after the local Indians, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
He was a cyclist for most of his life until he was knocked off his bike by a car in 1998. The ambulance crew who fought to save his life on the journey from Warminster to Frenchay hospital were men who knew him well from his reporting days.
The accident broke his neck, damaged his spinal cord and left him a tetraplegic in a wheelchair. After 10 months in hospital he returned home, where his main carer was his wife Pat.
Undaunted, they continued to live full lives, going on annual holidays, cruising, or staying in the Leonard Cheshire hotel for disabled people and their carers at Sandringham.
Bob was a familiar sight in Warminster and surrounding villages in his electric wheelchair. The couple were members of the University of the Third Age, and the Athenaeum film club in Warminster.
Bob was a member of the Youth Hostels` Association, on and off, from the ages of 17 to 67. He was also a life member of the RAF Mountain Rescue Association. He leaves his wife, three sons and a daughter and five grandchildren.