Bob Talbot
Bob Talbot

It was with great sadness that Hereford Cathedral School learnt of the death of a former teacher, Bob Talbot over the Bank holiday weekend after a long illness. Bob had been a key figure at the school for 34 years and was known to many of the current staff.

As Howard Tomlinson, Headmaster, said of Bob on his retirement in 2002:

“Bob has made a huge contribution to the life of the school - to its marketing, to its pastoral welfare, as a well-respected Tutor; to the life of the Common Room as its social secretary and many times President; to its adventure activities as a CCF officer; to its rugby, not least as 1st XV coach for many years and co-founder of the Marches Sevens competition; and to its aesthetic appreciations and general culture as Head of an outstanding Art Department.”

Aside from the cultural school trips abroad for which Bob was well known, rugby was clearly a love in Bob’s life. When Bob and Don Theakston, also a teacher at Hereford Cathedral School, started the Marches Sevens in 1976, they probably had no idea that it would still be running 34 years later and have grown to be a major fixture in the schools’ rugby sevens calendar nationally.

During his time at the School he nurtured the talent of many who would go on to regional, national and international success, including Paul Thorburn who said of Bob on hearing of his passing:

“There can be no question that Bob made a phenomenal contribution to the lives of so many people whilst at Hereford Cathedral School, particularly those of us who were fortunate to have a passion for rugby. Bob was a huge motivation for us all and his commitment to the teams he coached was tireless, whether it was the junior teams or the first XV. One of his legacies will be the Marches 7's, a tournament which now rates as one of the largest and most successful events on the schools 7's circuit and it was only 6 weeks ago that a number of former HCS students and staff enjoyed another momentous occasion. Sadly, Bob was unable to make it to Wyeside that day and it is with great sadness therefore that we never had an opportunity to say our thanks to him. On a personal note, Bob's contribution to my career was enormous, giving me great encouragement all the way through my school career and when I managed to make the Neath squad, he and a number of other staff members made every effort to come along and watch and I am indebted to him for the support he gave me, even if that meant occasionally he had to cheer for Wales!"

Bob was also involved in rugby in the wider county and stepped down after 40 years’ service, which included 20 years as treasurer, with the Herefordshire Schools’ Rugby Union in 2013.

Bob was a kind and generous man, a mentor for junior colleagues, who cared deeply about people. Colleagues describe him as ‘someone you could talk to’, ‘whose respect you wanted’, someone ‘who supported and encouraged you’.

Hereford Cathedral School’s current Headmaster Paul Smith said:

“We were all saddened to hear of Bob’s death. Bob, the first ever Head of Art at the School, left us with an outstanding Art Department and his legacy has continued to go from strength to strength with the Department now being recognised at a national level.”

“His lasting legacy, with Don Theakston, of the annual Marches Sevens Rugby Tournament also stands as a true testament to his vision and passion, and to his belief that life and learning are so often aided by the provision of opportunities, not just facilitated within the classroom.”

Bob leaves a wife, Sue, a former teacher at Hereford Cathedral Junior School and a daughter Louise.

The funeral was held at the Crematorium, Hereford on Monday 18th May at 2.15pm. Family flowers only but donations, if desired to Save the Children may be sent to Bayley Brothers (Hereford) Ltd, 17/19 Cotterell Street, Hereford, HR4 0HH. Tel: (01432) 272465

Bob asked that people attending the funeral should not wear black.
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