Bob Russell of Ardleigh Green and Nelmes Church

On 18th November, I attended the Thanksgiving Service at Nelmes URC for Bob Russell, who I had counted as a friend for over twenty years. Bob had passed away on 7th November, very shortly after being diagnosed with terminal cancer a few weeks before his eightieth birthday. He was a key elder of Nelmes, and was the church treasurer. He was a talented Lay Preacher – he took his last service at Nelmes on October 2nd – and many churches around here have benefitted from his entertaining and well-thought-through sermons. Bob very much carried his beliefs and faith into practice. He and Enid supported and worked for many things he believed in, including human rights, through Amnesty and Action by Christians Against Torture (ACAT), Citizens Advice, Christian Aid and nuclear disarmament. He was an active supporter of the Labour party. We heard at his service of his work as an insurance surveyor, in Christian CND council and in family life. I remembered that when the Eastern Region of Amnesty held its meeting at Harold Wood Methodist Church, Bob had been the keynote speaker.

I shall miss him as someone to talk to, always wise and understanding. I shall miss his enthusiasm for good beer, and his chuckle when something touched his sense of humour. His family – Enid, his daughters, their husbands and his grandchildren – must miss him much much more. A great man and a great friend much to be mourned but also greatly to be given thanks for.

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