Hundreds gather to pay respects as town says fond farewell to ‘man of Ipswich’ Bob Shelley
- Credit: 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 ’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.
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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.
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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.
“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.
“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’.
“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.