Tributes flood in for community stalwart Bob Morris

From left, the late Bob Morris, British boxer John Conteh and Bob's friend and employee Steve Holloway
From left, the late Bob Morris, British boxer John Conteh and Bob's friend and employee Steve Holloway

INSPIRATIONAL, generous and sincere is how Bob Morris, former chairman of Horsham Amateur Boxing Club, is being remembered.

After hearing the news of him dying in hospital aged 73, family, friends and colleagues across the county have been giving their tributes to Bob, who owned Roundstone Caravans in Southwater.

Born, Robert Bruce Fisher Morris, on March 13, 1937 in Pinner, Middlesex, he settled in Southwater in 1958 after finishing National Service serving in the RAF.

His maternal grandparents set up Roundstone Caravans in 1930 and, after moving to the Sussex village, Bob built it into the thriving business it is today.

His daughter Rosie Kent said: “To the residents at the park he was a friend and a provider first and a landlord second. They nominated him for ‘Park Owner of the Year’, a title which he won twice.

“He was a very successful businessman he was also an very honest and ethical one, making sure everyone got a fair deal.”

She added: “Throughout his long battle with cancer we had confirmed to us what we already knew, Dad was the bravest, toughest, determined and most resourceful man to walk the planet.

“A very keen amateur boxer he drew on the skills he had learnt in the boxing ring and fought the hardest fight of all. He beat the disease once but sadly this time his opponent was just too tough.”

The company has been left in the capable hands of fourth generation family members who already work at Roundstone.

Bob married Natalie in 1967 and had three children Shirley, Rosemary and Georgina. He also leaves his stepdaughter Rose, and his grandchildren Jack, Harry, William, Madeline and Freddie.

Having taken up boxing in the Forces, Bob was involved in boxing clubs in Horsham and Crawley and was chairman of Horsham Amateur Boxing Club from the 1980s until the day he died.

He was also a great supporter of Sussex Cricket Club and sponsored the club through the business.

Ben Gumbrell, club captain at Horsham Amateur Boxing Club, said: “To the kindest and most generous man I will ever meet in my life time a great friend a great boss and a great gentleman who gave everything and asked for nothing in return.

“RIP Bob Morris. You will be sadly missed from everyone’s lives you touched especially the Horsham Amateur Boxing Club. God Bless.”

Steve Holloway, one of Bob’s longest serving employees at Roundstone Caravans, shared Bob’s love of boxing.

He said: “I took him over to America four times for the boxing and once we saw Lennox Lewis. We had $200 tickets where you have to have binoculars to see the ring.

“Bob said to me ‘come on let’s go up to the front’.”

Then he recalled the emotions as they left their booked seats and successfully passed security to get into the $5,000 seating area to enjoy watching the boxing matches.

He continued: “I knew Bob for over 30 years. He was like a dad to me and my best friend.

“I used to talk to him about everything. He got me out of so many scrapes.”

Rees Hopcraft from Crawley Amateur Boxing Club said: “Bob Morris was one of amateur boxing’s top men. He always supported the sport and its participants.

“Whenever I was trying to sell tables for our annual dinner show, the first cheque that fell through the door was from Bob - whether he was having tickets or not.

“He brought Crawley and Horsham together through sport and dissolved rivalries. He was a true gentleman and will be sorely missed by everyone at Crawley Amateur Boxing Club.”

At the club’s annual dinner show on Friday February 18 they will be sound ten bells in memory of Bob.

Bob’s funeral will also be held on Friday with a memorial service at Southwater Parish Church at 11.45am. Family flowers only and donations to Horsham Boxing Club and/or St Catherine’s Hospice via Freeman brothers of Horsham.

All the tributes sent into the County Times this week

Bob Morris was one in a million the best boss you could have wished for I feel so honoured to have known him and worked along side him. He touched so many people with his kindness and generosity. He will never be forgotten. Sharon Jackman, employee at Roundstone Caravans

Bob Morris was the most amazing man I’ve ever known. I have worked for Bob since 2007 and he has been the greatest boss and friend I will ever have. It has been an honour to know such a wonderful, kind-hearted man in my life. I will never forget him asking for coffee, calling everyone ‘Luv’ and for being like a father to me and all of our working team. He’s a man with a true heart and will be sadly missed x Neil McClune, employee at Roundstone Caravans

Bobby was the best friend, father and grandfather that anyone could ever wish for - and that’s just the start!

He was inspirational, the perfect role model, a pillar of the community, a person determined to live life to the full (despite on-going physical pain and suffering), infectious in so many ways, funny to the point of a giggling fit, kind, caring, a gentleman of unswerving generosity and most of all, he was my real life guardian angel. As a fellow sports enthusiast, it seems only fitting to sum Bobby up using a common boxing phrase - “Bobby was ‘pound for pound’ the best man that I ever met”. My family and I loved him so dearly and will miss him every second of every day. A true legend and someone that has left us with so many memories that we will simply cherish forever. Jaime Kent, Bob’s son-in-law

Bob has always been an inspiration to us and everyone lucky enough to have been in his company. Without Bob we would not have been part of his family, we would not have had the pleasure of his company. Bob has been a great encouragement and support to our son and our grandchildren, especially in their sport activities and well being. Bob has touched our lives for the better and will always continue to do so. God bless Bob, may your legacy continue. Sue and Steff Kent

What a wonderful man he was ready to help anyone, we have known him for many years and would be the first person by your side if needed. A very dear friend who will be greatly missed by us, his family and all who have known him. God bless you Bob may you rest in peace. George, Margaret Walder & family

Bob was an amazing man. I shared a room with his daughter Rose at Bath Uni (she has been a brilliant friend ever since) and I will always remember him as an enthusiastic, inspiring, hard-working, generous man who had a great sense of humour. I remember sitting in my new room on the first day of uni in the halls of residence, waiting a bit nervously for my new room-mate to arrive. I had packed way too many things - objects from my bedroom at home that were all wrapped in newspaper - and these were all strewn over my new bed. I was feeling over-whelmed by the whole experience of being away from home for the first time, when Bob, Natalie and Rose came in. Bob took one look at the items littering my bed, and after a brief introduction, quickly organised me into sorting out which ones I wanted to unpack and which ones I wanted to keep! I have been privileged to know Bob and his family since then. Hannah Mead

It is an honour to have known such a genuine person. There is so much that could be said about Bob. He was so full of humility and caring for others, he would never put himself first. Was always willing to offer advice or help and where possible if any tasks needed doing you weren’t sure about would always say, ”let Daddy show you”. Bob was never just a boss, he always treated everyone as a personal friend. He can never be replaced. We will all miss you so much, Goodbye “Daddy”. Andy Lucas, shop manager at Roundstone Caravans

Bob was a person with a very big heart and a great sense of humour, he could see something funny in most things and would suddenly start giggling for no apparent reason and could not stop. His many handwritten letters given to me to type were a work of art, which often sent him into his giggles as he tried to decipher what he had written. When he asked my why I could not read it, I knew he could not either. Bob always greeted you cheerily no matter how he felt. Who’s going to call us all ‘lovey’ now? I will miss you so much. It has been an honour, Goodbye “Daddy” God bless. Sandie Hunt, secretary at Roundstone Caravans

I first meet Bob when I visited Roundstone Caravans in my capacity as an area manager for a caravan manufacturer back in 1989. Over the many years I felt we became friends rather than just supplier and customer. Whenever I visited Roundstone Caravans, Bob would always find time in his busy schedule for a chat, and a coffee, we would discuss various things as Bob was always interested in the state of the industry around the country, we would eventually get around to discussing my products and possible orders, that’s when the fun started! On several occasions, I would leave his office without an order, but smiling and feeling strangely cheerful having spent a while n the company of a genuinely nice guy. I remember on one occasion Bob visited my stand at the Beaulieu Trade show to view the new products, we had our normal banter about the caravans, he then said he goodbye’s and arranged to call back after seeing the other manufacturer’s stands. Later that afternoon I spotted Bob laughing as he noticed I had spotted him climbing over a fence trying to leave without returning to place his orders! I have many fond memories of Bob, he was a honest, kind, genuine chap whose word was his bond, he was always up for a laugh usually at my expense, I can’t help smiling whenever I think of him, I will miss him. Paul Farrow, Carnaby Caravans

I have had the privilege of knowing Bob as a businessman and friend for in excess of 30 years. Bob has always been my ‘total man’. In business Bob had total integrity, as a friend I received total loyalty from him and I know as a husband, father and grandfather, he gave his family total love. He was the model man that we all aspired to be and leaves a major hole in the business community, his circle of friends and his family, but leaves us with treasured memories. Chris Strange

I was very fortunate to know Bob for much of my life, and also had the pleasure of working for him. A wonderful man, and the best boss I have ever had. Ross Duncton, employee at Roundstone Caravans

I was lucky enough to know Bob for most of my life, and I will always remember him for his kindness, generosity and amazing sense of humour. He could make you roll about laughing in an instant. Very sadly missed. Lara

I and my family treasure the memory of a dear and wonderful friend whom we had known for many years and he will be greatly missed. Bob had the endearing quality of being able to relate to everyone he met and left a lasting impression on all. Jean Charles

I have been involved with Horsham boxing Club for about 8 years. Recently I started to help organise the shows we put on. Bob was always fantastically supportive and appreciative and encouraged me, making the job a pleasure. I hope to carry on putting these shows on in his memory and let the local lads perform in front of their home crowds. Dan Purchase from Horsham Amateur Boxing Club

Bob was a friend and business associate over the past 45 years and we have shared many happy memories. Bob had a great sense of humour and was a generous and king man. He was highly respected by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. He showed his usual courage fighting his recent illness and was an inspiration to all. We feel privileged to have known and worked with Bob and extend out deepest sympathy to his beloved family in their sad loss. Frank, Anne and David Butler of Dorking Caravan Transport

I feel very lucky to have been in part of Bob’s life, through working for him and as part of his beloved boxing club. We spent many hours and days laughing together as Bobby always had a positive outlook on life. He was like the dad that you always wanted, not just to his three lovely girls but to almost all that had the privilege to be in his company. I had the great privilege to go to his last function the cricket do at The Grand in Brighton and to see such a brave honourable man having fun knowing what he was facing is a great testament to the amazing person and I think of him as my second dad, as sad as I am that a true gent has passed away he has left me and others feeling proud to have known him. Personally Bobby I will miss you - a massive man in my life that showed me how to be strong even when the going is really tough you are and always will be an inspiration to me. Miss you and love you always Bobby. Lester Deakin

Bob was a lovely likeable man. Bob, I am glad I had the privilege to know you. God Bless Gerry Andrews