Robert Edward Dawkins (1912-2002)
Bob Dawkins was born 2nd January 1912.He was the youngest of 14 children of William and Harriet Dawkins of Water Lane, North Hykeham and was educated at the village school.
He studied piano and organ with Mr. Scarborough, organist of St Andrew’s church and cello with Miss Grayson, a schoolteacher.
Upon leaving school at the age of 15, Bob became an indentured apprentice to Ruston Hornsby ironworks and foundries, progressing to Spike Island pattern shop.
During the five-year apprenticeship, he attended the Municipal Technical Day School on Monks Road and qualified as a pattern maker.
An associate member of the British Foundrymen for twenty years, he was involved in a variety of projects including marine engines, loco engines, winding mechanisms for coal-mines, excavators and drag-lines, etc.
In February 1934, Bob moved to Grantham to work for Aveling Barford in a similar role and in 1942, he was made senior foreman.
Bob married Margaret Gladys Vickery in 1938. She died in1991.
Starting from an early age, music played a major part in Bob and Gladys’s life. Gladys was an excellent singer and Bob an accomplished pianist, organist, cellist, clarinettist and saxophonist.
He formed ‘the Dinkie dance band’ in Lincoln and played at many venues including Doddington Hall and Hykeham garden fete. Twice a week, the band hired a 45-seater bus, driven by George Hutson, to transport the young dancers to ‘Dinkie’ gigs in North Hykeham and the surrounding district.
‘The Dinkie dance band’ started with three: Bob Dawkins on piano, Bob Goodwin on violin and saxophone, and Len Whitworth on drums and banjo. As the group grew in popularity; it was augmented when necessary by Dick Dawkins or Hilda Macrill on piano, Harold Warner on violin, Frank Dawkins on clarinet, Danny Thomas on cello, Henry Grundy on trumpet and drums or Jack Garton on trumpet.
In Grantham, Bob joined the Ken Simmonds trio with Claude Welbourn on drums, and Ken Simmonds on piano, to play for six-hour dance sessions.
He also joined the ‘Radios’:Arthur Brockhouse (violin and tenor sax), Bob Clarke (drums), Arthur Bickerstaffe (piano and piano accordion) and Eric Coles (violin).
Later joining the ‘New Olympians’ with Albert Sale (trumpet), Alf Bausor (clarinet), Claude Welbourn (drums), and Bob Clarke’s youngest son. For many years, they played every Saturday night at a pub in Redmile, where Bob was the resident organist.
Bob was saxophonist for Grantham Orchestra and RAF Cranwell Orchestra. He was a regular solo performer at the Grantham Music Festival, being awarded many prizes. He was also accompanist to many successful singers at the festival.
Bob was a regular pianist for various choirs, orchestras and organisations including the Elsham Singers and the Grantham Singers, and was the regular organist at the United Reformed Church and Freemasons events in Grantham
As well as being a craftsman in woodwork, another of Bob’s many talents was copperplate handwriting. He produced thousands of handwritten certificates for many organisations.
Bob was also a very competitive bowls player.
Right up until his death, Bob had an extremely hectic life; his diary was always full and his musical talents were called upon by many.
Robert Edward Dawkins died in Grantham Hospital on Wednesday 23rd January 2002, aged 90 years. The Funeral Service took place on 1st February at the United Reform Church followed by cremation. His ashes are in the same Garden of Remembrance at Grantham Cemetery along with Gladys.
His son Rodney has followed in his footsteps. Formerly musical director of the Vale of Catmose College, Oakham, he is a freelance musician and examiner. Rodney and his wife Janet are both fine singers.
Rodney’s daughters Katherine and Rebecca are carrying on the family musical tradition both studying music.