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Tributes to stand-up comedian Bob Turner

By Gerry Warren

No one would say Bob Turner, who has died aged 79, had anything but a varied working life.

He joined the Royal Marines Band at 14 and was still driving a taxi last year, aged 78.

He was also a train conductor, a driving instructor and even a stand-up comedian.

Bob in his stand up days
Bob in his stand up days

Bob's service took him all around the world on HMS Albion, Centaur, Ceylon and Belfast, which is now a floating museum on the Thames.

After leaving the forces in the early 60s, he became a train guard.

He met his future wife, June, after catching her bunking a free train home to Minster.

He dreamt of becoming a comedian and worked as a Butlins redcoat.

He made the final of a newspaper talent contest in 1972, using his stage name, Bobby Lee.

After getting married and having daughter, Tracy, then son Darren, he became a Jack of all trades, running a contract cleaning company, driving a taxi, painting, and working as a bingo caller at what is now the Odeon cinema in Canterbury.

By the early 70s, he and June had two more sons, Paul and Gavin.

He became involved with Canterbury City FC, promoting wrestling shows at the Kingsmead Stadium and serving on the board of directors.

Jack of all trades Bob Turner raises a glass
Jack of all trades Bob Turner raises a glass

His association with the club continued for many years as he became the first ever shirt sponsor in 1984 with his driving school, 3 Way School Of Motoring.

After retiring, twice-divorced Bob, who lived in Sturry, soon decided he wanted to get back to work and became a taxi driver again, where his comic talent made him popular.

He died last earlier this month, just a week after discovering he had cancer throughout his body.

Darren said: “We were all shocked and devastated.

"One day he was having minor problems and the next, he was diagnosed with all that. Then just a week later, he’d gone.

"He was such a great character, a comedian until the end, and it was quite fitting that of all days to leave us, it was April Fools day.

When registering his death, Gavin gave his occupation as retired comedian, which he would have appreciated.”

Bob asked that his body be donated for medical science. His family is planning to hold a celebration of his life.

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