As the founder of the charity CLIC (Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood), Bob’s vision for focusing on improving the lives of young cancer victims and their families very much chimed with Meningitis Now founder Steve Dayman, who had a similar vision for young meningitis sufferers. Bob was instrumental in helping Steve to set up the Spencer Dayman Laboratories in Bristol, advancing research into the development of meningitis vaccines.
Like Steve, Bob lost a young child to disease: son Robert died from cancer in 1977, aged just 11. When visiting his son in hospital in Bristol, Bob witnessed for himself what conditions were like for families trying to look after their sick children – which led to him setting up the UK’s first “Home from Home” facility.
This was just the start of his move into philanthropy and in 1976 he founded CLIC to initially service the South West but soon to cover the whole of the UK and eventually other parts of the world. The charity not only developed research and treatment programmes, it also worked in many other ways to help young cancer victims.
Despite losing Robert, as well as another son, Hugh, Robert continued to dedicate himself to charity – including taking on a role as chief executive of the Starfish Trust, which funds the care and support of young children suffering with life-threatening illnesses. In 2014 he was honoured with an OBE for his work.
Robert is survived by his wife Judy, daughter Rachel, son James, and granddaughter Laura. Our thoughts are with them.