Commissioner Bob Jones - a tribute from his family

Bob Jones was elected Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands in 2012. Despite the fact that he was open in saying that he did not think the PCC model was the best form of governance of policing, he threw himself into the role whole-heartedly.

Since Bob's death was announced on Tuesday 1 July, there has been a massive outpouring of sympathy to Bob's family and to the office where he worked.

His wife Sarah Edmondson has received vast numbers of cards from friends, colleagues and people who knew and respected Bob, many of whom she did not even know. There has been a flood of comments on Twitter and in the books of condolences expressing sadness at the passing of a man who was held in great affection and esteem by people in the West Midlands and the rest of the country.

Bob Jones book of condolences

Sarah Edmondson said that Bob wanted the public to feel safe with the police.

"He wanted people to know that if they had a problem, they could go to the police and it would be sorted out," said Sarah.

 "He also put a high priority on the welfare of police officers and did not want them to get scapegoated for issues beyond their control. He took a huge interest in their roles and wanted to help them to work more effectively and find ways of cutting down on paperwork. He took every opportunity to quiz officers and find out what they did and how. At police station open days he would talk with police community support officers (PCSOs) because Bob's view was that ideas should come from the bottom up."

Remembering when she first met Bob in 1976, Sarah said: "He made me laugh, he had a lovely smile and was always very kind. He was a good listener, who would hear me out and then gently point of the error of my ways. He was entirely modest and unassuming and would go to the ends of the earth to sort out people's problems. He would drop everything if somebody needed help and recently gave a lift to a friend who needed to get to the hospital quickly."

Sarah's daughter Frances Harrison said: "He married my Mum when I was 17 and Bob completely became my Dad. He adored his granddaughter Emma. From the age of two, he would take her off somewhere every Sunday - to feed the ducks in the park or somewhere local. It was their special time together and nobody else was allowed to join in."

Emma with her big blue eyes had her 'Grand-Bob' wrapped around her little finger. She knew that if Granny said no to something, she just had to go to 'Grandbob', who would melt instantly. As Emma got older, he would take her on days out, getting up early to make the sandwiches for them to take on their adventures.  Always up for a train journey, Bob infused Emma with his passion for Heritage railways.

"A holiday was never a holiday without a trip to a railway," said Frances. "He was tremendously proud when Emma was recently accepted for an apprenticeship in the engineering department at Severn Valley Railway."

Emma who is now 17 said: "He was just the most amazing and wonderful Grandbob. He would always go above and beyond to try and help me. He recently paid for me to have a set of driving lessons and I am so glad he knew about the apprenticeship. He was really delighted for me."

Bob Jones' sister Rosemary Green said: "Bob inherited a perfect combination of qualities from our parents. He had Dad's calm, quietness and kindness mixed with our Mum's political zest and determination. His middle name Moelwyn was chosen by our father, after one of the mountains of Snowdonia where Dad grew up. Bob loved that area as much as our Dad and loved to spend summer holidays in Snowdonia where he could enjoy the mountain views."

"All the family were delighted when Bob and Sarah got together, because he was so happy. It is down to Sarah that he was able to do all the things he did. He could not have done the role of PCC without Sarah supporting him."

Bob's cousin Councillor John Reynolds said: "We had a great deal of fun together holidaying in Llwyngwril. To him, it was a place of perfection and a paradise. His phone would be switched off and he had time for a proper rest. We would go hill walking or on days out. My daughter Alice who is now 24, used to have breakfast with us at our caravan and then go to Sarah and Bob and have a second breakfast with them. "

"As a former leading member of the Campaign for Real Ale, Bob would plan itineraries for outings which would include the maximum number of train rides and pub visits that could be fitted into a twelve hour day."

Bob Jones, who always used public transport when he was working, travelled to his meetings on buses and trains. He had a complete knowledge of the West Midlands Travel timetable and knew exactly how he would get to any venue without having to look anything up. Bob will always be remembered as a man of the people.

Bob Jones was a member of Talyllyn Railway in Wales, where his granddaughter Emma is still a volunteer in the loco and traffic departments. He also took a keen interest in the Kingswood Trust in Wolverhampton.

Flowers / Donations

The family have asked that, in lieu of flowers, anybody who wishes to make a donation in memory of Bob Jones is invited to give their support to two organisations that were important to him:  

Kingswood Trust - Kingswood is a unique environment which uses the outdoors as a natural context for children's learning. Details of how to make a donation are available here

Talyllyn Railway - Bob Jones and his family have been members and supporters of the Talyllyn Railway for many years.  Details of how to make a donation are available here.

 

Celebration of the life of Bob Jones, 23 July 2014

The celebration of Bob Jones' life will take place at 1300 hours (1pm) on Wednesday 23 July 2014, starting at Wolverhampton Civic Hall (  register to attend).