THE death at the age of 97 of Honorary Alderman Bob Bedford has ended one of the last surviving member links with the former Scarborough Corporation.
He began his long career in local government in 1969 when he joined the then Town Council as a Conservative member for the resort’s Woodlands Ward which he represented for more than 30 years.
His distinguished career saw him hold many top positions including Mayor of Scarborough in 1980-1981, and Leader of the Council when he helped mastermind several initiatives aimed at regenerating the resort.
Alderman Bedford’s keen interest in public life in Scarborough included being the first chairman of the Scarborough District Sports Council, following his playing days as a member of Scarborough Rugby Union Football Club in the 1930s, and also being an accomplished swimmer and lifesaver. He was area organiser and a past president of the North Yorkshire branch of the Royal Life Saving Society.
Leeds born, he spent all his working life in education after training at Cheltenham College.
He taught at the former St Mary’s Junior Mixed School in Scarborough, then after service in the RAF during the war when he was demobilised with the rank of Flying Officer, he returned to teaching at Scarborough’s Central School.
He later became head of the then new Overdale County Primary School in the town where he stayed for 14 years until he took charge of one of North Yorkshire’s biggest primary schools, Gladstone Road in Scarborough, a position he held until he retired in 1980.
Alderman Bedford was a past president of the Scarborough branch of the National Union of Teachers and was one of the main organisers when the giant teaching union held its conferences at the town’s Spa Grand Hall.
To many young councillors and teachers he was seen as a mentor.
His other interests included amateur drama, and was one of the founders of the Scarborough Theatre Guild.
He was also vice president of the Scarborough Amicable Society, a century-plus old organisation which was set up to help deprived children, and was chairman of the town’s United Scholarships Foundation.
A widower, Alderman Bedford leaves two sons, Richard and Bruce, and daughter in-law Sue.
He died while on holiday in Scotland.