On Wednesday 15th of November 2023 Bob Fee sadly passed, surrounded by his loved ones.
Bob was born in 1945 and became a member of Norden Cricket Club in the early 1950’s and remained a member for over 70 years. He was born and bred in Norden and lived in the village all his life.
Bob was a keen cricketer and loved playing the game. His brother, Les, describes a photo that Pete Fitton still has of him, Bob and Dave Wild all playing at Norden in 1957. Bob played in the junior sides before moving on to the 2nd XI.
A few years ago Bob was made a life member of the club due to his enormous contribution over his 70 year membership. Bob served on the committee in the 60’s and was instrumental in the implementation of a licensed bar for the first time in the club’s history in 1967. Along with his good friend, Dave Wild, they used their skills as electrical engineers to get the bar up and running. In the late 70’s, Bob and Dave re-wired the club as an extension and new bar were built.
Bob left school at 15 and got a job with Whipp & Bourne, a well known electrical engineers in Rochdale. Bob worked for Whipps his entire working life and was an extremely popular figure. For much of this time Bob was in Quality Control alongside his great mate, Joe Rush.
Rushy recalls how the company went in to liquidation in 1976 and they all lost their jobs … for one day, as they were soon taken back on as the company started trading again under a new name. Joe said “Bob was a wonderful man. We worked very closely for such a long time. Never once did we have a crossed word. Bob didn’t like the limelight, he’d always be at the back on photos and things of that nature. We travelled a lot and Bob was an integral part of work social scene at Whipps”.
Andrew Pownall : “What a great guy Bob was, always there to help and guide, whilst having a laugh. Worked with him and saw him occasionally at the cricket when Norden played Walsden. Have some great memories of him and sad to learn this news.”
Ste Holt : “Well appreciated at Whipps; a steady, genuine good guy. Remember him giving me a bollocking for goading Jack Crandon, he was right I needed it. That was Bob, bless that memory.
When Whipps eventually closed down in 2011, Bob took early retirement to look after his late wife Pat.
Cricket wasn’t Bob’s only love; he was a season ticket holder at Manchester United for a while and loved a trip to the races. This article is being written on one of Bob’s favourite days of the year, the Betfair Chase at Haydock which signals the start of the Jump season. He was a regular attendee.
When Bob’s cricket playing days finished, he was an avid supporter of the 1st XI. For over fiftty years he watched home and away, very rarely missing a game. He was a regular fixture at Stag Park, sitting with his crew under the scoreboard. Whilst some members are not very shy of telling you what they thought of your performance that day, Bob was not like this. Regardless of the result, Bob would collect the discs away, lock up the shed and head over to the bar for a drink. He’d never criticise, never raise a voice, never tell you what you should have done. He would love to discuss the game with you. Bob has seen many generations of players come through the club and was so well liked by all of them.
In later life he went on to meet Linda. They married in 2020 and spent many happy times together. Bob was still active at the club, and once he’d retired he got even more work done. He was regularly at the club during the day, whether it be painting the changing rooms, emptying the bins, strimming the grass… anything he could do to help.
Every Saturday and Sunday morning on game day Bob would be at the ground early, putting out the fielding discs and sorting the boundary rope. At the mid-innings break, Bob and his brother Les would roll and re-mark the wicket. They did this for over 30 years and in recent times he was nicknamed Bob the Brush by 6 year old Joe Shotton.
A kind, clever, generous man. Any room Bob walked in to, he made it better. Norden Cricket Club has lost its number one supporter.
Bob was just a bloody lovely bloke who will be so sadly missed by all the cricket club
The funeral will take place at Rochdale crematorium on Tuesday the 5th of December at 15:20, followed afterwards with a reception at Norden Cricket Club. The funeral procession will drive on to the car park at Norden CC at 14:50 and pause for a short while. Anyone who knew Bob is welcome to attend.