Bob Symes (1924 – 2015)
In a rare departure from my general policy of ignoring of topics beyond strictly modelling, I thought I really ought to comment on the passing of Bob Symes at the beginning of this week
To those in the UK of my age, you probably will have first encountered Bob as the presenter of the Model World TV series in the early 1970s. This was a series of six (I think) episodes, each dealing with a different modelling subject; military modelling, ship modelling, aeroplane modelling and, of course, model railways. You couldn’t see the BBC risking BBC channel 73 with a series on making models now, let alone a prime evening slot on BBC 2 which is where I think these were aired. Most of the episodes are available on youtube (for example this one) and whilst perhaps the quality of modelling has come quite a long way in the last 40 years, I wonder if the charm that Bob seemed to impart to his interest may have been lost? And for you that really were there watching these back in the 1970’s, the opening music will instantly wipe away the years………….
Thereafter, I encountered Bob quite regularly as he was the president of my then local model railway club; the Astolat Club in Guildford. He would attend most of the Astolat’s shows and was always encouraging to the efforts of the juniors, such as myself, which was certainly appreciated. He would also have an open day at his house in the summer where you could get to see and play with his trainsets – and didn’t he have a few! It is not everyone that has what must be something like a 12 inch guage circuit in their garden; and gauge 1 circuit, and a couple of others besides and that is even before you get to his steam powered generator and water pump!
I still pass close by to where he lived quite regularly and thought I ought to see if I could get a further invite. Now the chance is gone. So rest in peace Bob, you definitely were an asset to the hobby.
The majority of these photographs are with thanks to Guy Carpenter of Gullwing Photography and he retains copyright of them. For more information please go to Guy’s website and for some more of Guy’s fine photographs of his visit to Bob’s house please go here.