Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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'Bob was a lovely shy, little boy'

'Bob was a lovely shy, little boy'

r3Noleen Delany never wants her only son Robert to be alone in hospital, and hates leaving him for even a moment.

Sitting by his hospital bed, stroking his hand, she wonders how anyone could live with what they have done to her son and his family.

"Surely whoever did this has a mother, and they know what it is like to have a son. Surely they can see how this has affected us all, not just Robert, but Mags, his children, his family," she says. Noleen spends much of her time thinking about her her days minding Robert as a boy. "Bob was very shy, and his favourite toy was a police car. And he loved his basketball and football," Noleen explained.

"He didn't like school at all, but always loved the company of older people."

The young Robert and Noleen's father, also Robert, idolised each other.

"My father taught him how to paint, and he would dress him in a flat cap like his own and put the big brush in his hand and you would see Robert following his grandad around copying everything he did," Noleen smiled.

"And young Robert wouldn't suck his dodie in front of his grandad. Instead he would sneak in under his granny's apron and say 'Nana, can I have a suck of my dodie under here?'" she laughed.

The memories of Robert's childhood also stretch as far as a trip to Butlins where the youngster felt hard done by after an altercation with a duck. There were hundreds near the pond when Robert came running in saying one had bitten him, and when Terry brought him outside he pointed at one at random saying, 'It was him!'

"They were all the same, of course, but Robert said he knew which one bit him."

Mags and Noleen think that Robert's relationship with his grandfather might be the reason why he always had an affinity with older people later in life.

"We would be in the pub, but Bob would be over with the older crowd, laughing and joking with them, he felt really at home with them," Mags explained.

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