'It's a praise from us' - Tributes paid as inventor of football phone-ins Bob Jackson dies
The voice of football across Sheffield and South Yorkshire Bob Jackson has died at the age of 88.
Bob launched the original football phone-in Praise or Grumble during his 20 years as sports reporter and producer at BBC Radio Sheffield between 1972 and 1992.
He was also a former chairman of trustees of the Sheffield Marathon and president of the Sheffield and District Parks Bowling Association.
The great grandfather died suddenly at his Totley home.
Former Radio Hallam sports editor and Sheffield Telegraph columnist Alan Biggs said: “My earliest memoeries of Bob are when I was a kid aspiring to be a journalist and I would listen to Radio Sheffield on a Saturday afternoon and Bob would always do matchdays at Millmoor so he became the voice of Rotherham United and he had a very distinctive booming voice.
“I was sports editor at Radio Hallam in the early 1980s and I was approached about a position at Radio Sheffield but they definitely ended up getting the right man for the job.”
In tribute, Bob’s family described him as a ‘force of nature – a man who was determined never to stop’.
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After attending Abbey Lane Junior School and King Edward VII School he became a Sheffield Town Hall clerk, completed national service in the Royal Navy and trained as a PE teacher at the Sheffield Collegiate site.
A spell in teaching at Grimesthorpe Juniors, Sheffield, was followed by a career in the family fruit and veg business – Charles Jackson and Sons – based at the Castlefolds and Parkway Markets.
After the business was sold, Bob’s love of sport saw him move towards broadcast radio – starting in hospital radio and BBC Radio Sheffield where he was the regular reporter covering Rotherham United and then became a full-time sports producer.
Mr Biggs said: “I remember his kindness because we obviously had a professional rivalry but he was always willing to help. We had phone calls on a Saturday night or Sunday morning and knocked spots off each other but it was all done in a jovial fashion and he was always very polite.
“He had sport, and the good of sport, at the very heart of everything he did. He believed in what was best for sport. He had a very distinctive broadcasting voice. He didn’t clone anyone else and you couldn’t clone him.”
Bob also acted as chairman of the Sheffield Marathon organising committee for years and was a key figure at Millhouses Bowling Club – and only recently won the Abbeydale Challenge Cup.
And he also sat as a chairman of the Sheffield Magistrates’ bench, a member of Sheffield Probus Club and the Rotary Club of Sheffield, where he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship Award for services to the organisation.
Bob leaves behind widow Mary, three children – Ann, Helen and Richard, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.