Bob Headden could be an exasperating sort of bloke at times. Not one of us, I suspect, hasn’t at some time or another said (or thought) ‘Oh Bob’. And yet, and yet, the fact remains that Dunfermline G& Society has had few more loyal, more faithful, more whole-hearted members than Bob. Every aspect of the Society’s life was touched by Bob’s enthusiasm – Committee meetings, a sponsored walk, an Autumn Fayre, a poster distribution, a theatre outing, a skittles evening – organise it and Bob was here if, indeed, he hadn’t organised the event himself.
Bob spent a life-time singing. He once admitted that he could remember taking a solo part, presumably as a treble, in a school concert “round about the age of ten”. This would mean that he had spent over 60 years singing to audiences. Blessed ultimately with a genuine, Ol’-Man-River, bass voice he sang in some nineteen shows, umpteen summer concerts, Bums Suppers, carols in the Kingsgate and was, naturally, a stalwart of the Concert Party.
He sang several major roles with us including Adam Goodheart, The Mikado, Sergeant Meryll, Private Willis, Sergeant of Police and Colonel Calverley , together with a dozen or so minor roles from Arac in 1979 to Pritsch in The Merry Widow earlier this year. To them all, he gave freely of himself, his enthusiasm unaffected by the size or prestige of the role he had been asked to play. But we weren’t the only receiver of Bob’s talents. He sang in Church Choirs, Male Voice Choirs, Health Board Choirs, Woodmill Singers and, of course, the happily named “Bob’s Lot”.
As a friend to many of us he was equally valued. He loved company. He spoke often of his family, always with affection and pride. He bore the death of his wife Jean with dignity and courage and his strengthened friendship with John Parfitt spoke of his willingness to share his own experience of loss with others similarly bereft.
It is the way of the world, thank goodness, that already there are members of the Society who never knew Bob but those of us who did will, I hope, always be properly grateful for the many years in the life of the Society we shared with that warm, ebullient character, Bob Headden.
A tribute written by Bill Tulloch after Bob’s death on 6 September 1996.