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Hundreds gather to pay respects as town says fond farewell to ‘man of Ipswich’ Bob Shelley

PUBLISHED: 13:19 06 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:45 06 October 2018

The family of Bob Shelley   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The family of Bob Shelley Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Ipswich paid a fond farewell to Bob Shelley yesterday - described as a man ‘big on friendship, big on humour, big on love and big on life’.

The order of service for Bob Shelley's funeral   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe order of service for Bob Shelley's funeral Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The ’larger than life’ businessman and BBC radio celebrity, who died in August aged 78, was remembered at a packed St Mary’s Catholic Church in Ipswich yesterday in a service that had as many laughs as tears.

Among the hundreds of mourners, a few famous faces paid their respects, including former Ipswich Town stars Alan Hunter and Jason Dozzell, former ITFC chairman David Sheepshanks and colleagues at BBC Radio Suffolk.

Celebrant Father Tony Rogers said Mr Shelley has touched the lives of people of all backgrounds in the town.

“A wide spectrum of Ipswich is represented here today,” he said.

Bob at Jacks cafe Picture: SHELLEY FAMILYBob at Jacks cafe Picture: SHELLEY FAMILY

BBC radio presenter Stephen Foster led the tributes for the ‘man of Ipswich’, telling stories of his time on the airwaves.

He described him as a ‘natural on the mic’ who ‘didn’t pull any punches’ while on BBC Radio Suffolk’s Sports Round Table.

He said Mr Shelley believed ‘life was for living’ describing his generous nature and ‘wonderful sense of humour’.

Remembering his time co-presenting The Happy Hour with Mr Shelley, Mr Foster said: “I guess I was Bob’s Ernie Wise.

The funeral of Bob Shelley was held at St Mary's Church  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe funeral of Bob Shelley was held at St Mary's Church Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“Together we were dubbed BBC Radio Suffolk’s answer to the Chuckle Brothers.”

Friend Nick Pandolfi was next to pay tribute, describing Mr Shelley as a man whose ‘generosity knew no bounds’.

“It is an old cliché but Bob really was larger than life,” he said.

“He is one of Ipswich’s dearest sons.

Mourners gather outside the church   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMourners gather outside the church Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“The angels must be loving every moment of Bob’s company.”

A tribute from his partner Lesley was also read out during the service.

She said: “Bob was big on friendship, big on humour, big on love and big on life.”

His daughter Petra described her father as ‘her hero’.

Messages from loved ones on the flowers    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMessages from loved ones on the flowers Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“He was not only my soul mate but also my best friend,” she said.

“But most of all he was my hero.”

An entrepreneur and radio celebrity, Mr Shelley was best known for the tens of thousands of pounds he helped raise for good causes in Ipswich.

From humble beginnings, he had built a business empire in the town, later becoming a much-loved radio presenter.

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Free tickets to go and watch the mighty Tractor Boys play at Portman Road are being given to nearby schools.

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