British Deaf Association Chair Terry Riley pays tribute to Deaf comedian and all-round nice guy, Bobby Benson, who was laid to rest this week.
“Earlier this week the funeral took place of an old BDA & BDSC friend, Bobby Benson known to many as “58”, his Old Trafford school number, which he wore with passion and a sense of pride.
“Well over 200 attended the crematorium at Duckinfield, Greater Manchester. The pall bears were gathered from Bobbys’ long associations with the school, BDA, BDSC, Deaf Comedians and friends.
“Bobby wasn’t what one would term a front man, he worked very much in the shadows blossoming out later in his life.
“He was Manchester BDA Branch delegate at many BDA regional meetings then delegate at BDA AGMs. Bobby’s first love in sports was darts and he was quite good but it was more in the way of organisation that he came to the fore. He became the British Deaf Sports Darts convener and organised National Darts competitions all over the UK for many years. Some were attended by over 1000 deaf and they went on all day Saturday and finished in the early hours on Sunday morning.
“I think most people will know Bobby for his unique humour which really came to the fore when he became one of the Deaf Comedians, a group that brought laughter and happy memories of the audiences own experiences at school, work, or with interpreters. Bobby was always the straight man or the intermediator.
“There were many antidotes about Bobby at his funeral including his love of gambling, the occasional drink for medicinal purposes (!) and most of all his humour. Bobby played tricks on people, no matter what their status. Anyone was ripe for him to take down.
“So what was special about Bobby and how was it he left his mark on people? Bobby had a unique gift. First he had time for anyone who was new to the deaf community, he was a listener and he was the bridge between deaf & hearing, warmly welcoming them as friends, always with a joke, making them feel at ease, anything to break the ice and people thanked him for that as we can be somewhat unforgiving and direct at times.
“Lastly a special thanks to all those who told their stories of Bobby and a special thanks and praise to Chantelle who looked after him and did everything to make his last few years comfortable and special.”