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Bob Platt


This tribute to Bob Platt, who died on 26 December 2015, is by his daughter Katharine, who delivered it at his funeral. 

Robert (Bob) Platt was born in November 1929 in Mile End, East London, one of ten siblings. Bob recalled seeing the buildings around St Paul’s Cathedral ablaze as the family fled from the East End during the Blitz. Later he was evacuated with other family members, first to Swindon and then Newcastle. In 1948, when the time came to do his National Service, he joined the Royal Navy for what he always called the ‘best seven years of his life’. With acute hearing, he was selected for specialising in anti-submarine detection.

Bob Platt in his Navy days

The Navy provided him with tremendous opportunities, not least travelling to many places around the Med. Off duty, he enjoyed taking part in athletics for which he achieved particular acclaim, one of his proudest moments being in Malta where he was presented with a trophy for a cross-country race from Princess Elizabeth - the future Queen.

Following active service, he remained in the Reserves and settled in Croydon, resuming his craft as a joiner and eventually opening Platts Woodwork Centre, which served the people of West Croydon for 38 years until he retired. He had a strong rapport with his customers, and few left his shop without having been entertained.

A proud moment - seaman Bob receives athletics prize from Princess Elizabeth

He was a born performer and music was a huge part of his life. He took part in many productions with CODA (Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association) and in 1995 he joined the Croydon Male Voice Choir. He adored Bing Crosby, and for years he formed a strong partnership with his pianist friend Tony Budd and sang his 1930s favourites in pubs.  Later he entertained residents of care homes, singing and telling jokes, together with fellow CMVC members  George Stevens and on occasion Alf Perrin.

Bob relished the camaraderie he experienced as a member of the CMVC. He accompanied the choir on tours in Britain and abroad, and especially looked forward to each ‘après’. For Bob, singing with a pint in hand was the perfect combination!

Bob shortly before he retired from the choir (photo: Philip Talmage) 

Sadly, ill health forced him to step down from the choir in 2010, but at home he continued to sing constantly, including his choir favourites, Moon River and Asleep in the Deep. Bob passed away peacefully on Boxing Day 2015 after a short illness, having been able to meet his new baby grandson for the first time.

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