The Frome Festival is deeply saddened to announce the death of our former Chairman Dr Robert (Bob) Morris.
Bob & Marjorie Morris receiving their Civic Award from Frome Town Council in 2019.
Bob became a member of the Board of the Frome Festival in 2004, and was appointed Chairman in 2005.
He succeeded Dennis Buffrey as Chairman, describing him as a “hard act to follow,” but then made the role his own over the next 15 years. Under his leadership the Festival grew from strength-to-strength as its reputation and popularity increased. A major achievement was to oversee the Festival’s transition to Charity status.
A highly-educated man – he won a major scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford at the age of 16 – he was at his best when promoting the benefits of the Festival which he did cogently and with great wit.
Along with his wife Marjorie he enjoyed attending as many Festival events as possible, with his imposing figure and bold dress-sense he was a familiar sight around the many venues.
He was a huge supporter of the Festival but was also careful to adopt a hands-off approach wherever possible and was happy to trust the judgement of Martin Dimery, Creative Director, in his selection of events.
Martin Dimery said: “Bob Morris was a man of great loyalty, decency and trust. He was totally diligent and supportive of the staff, Board and volunteers of the Frome Festival as Chairman, and a pleasure to work with. Bob became a close personal friend. I shall profoundly miss his wit, charm and tremendous intellect.”
Gavin Rea, Frome Festival Chairman, added “Bob’s many qualities included inspired leadership, strategic awareness, and wise counsel – all done with great humour – he will be greatly missed by us all.”
Morag McLaren Patron of Frome Festival said “he was a lovely, gentle, thoughtful and intelligent man, who’ll be sorely missed at Cooper Hall. His presence, constant support and encouragement has been most appreciated since our conception at the first event we held. What a loss for Frome! But what a legacy he leaves. He will always be fondly remembered.”
Bob received a Civic Award from Frome Town Council in 2019 for his contribution to town life
Incidentally Marjorie, his wife, also received a Civic Award at the same time for her work with the Society of Disabled Artists.
Both Marjorie and Bob were made Vice-Presidents of Frome Festival in 2020. Bob retired from the Board in January 2021 after nearly 17 years having made an enormous contribution not only to the Festival but also to the town of Frome.
MARTIN BAX (Founder, Director for 7 years and President) said: “Bob was a tower of strength to me in the early days of the Festival and he continued to support me in a calm and professional manner. I treasure many fond memories of a remarkable man.”