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Bob celebrates almost 50 years at school with surprise TV appearance

Bob celebrates almost 50 years at school with surprise TV appearance

A much-loved school caretaker who was invited to watch a popular lunchtime TV programme had the surprise of his life when he ended up being the star of the show.


Bob Webb has worked at the Royal School for the Deaf Derby for almost 50 years and as a retirement gift staff arranged for him to be on Steph’s Packed Lunch, on Channel 4.

The 74-year-old thought he was just going to be a member of the audience and was shocked when host Steph McGovern invited Bob and his wife Sarah to join him on stage.

He was asked about some of the highlights of his time at the school, including a visit from Princess Margaret, and shown a montage of clips from staff and pupils wishing him good luck for the future.

Bob said:

“I was told that staff had arranged for us to sit in the audience, although I was slightly surprised when they fastened microphones onto us with battery packs, but they said everyone had them and the audience was only small.

“I was completely taken aback when Steph asked me to join her on stage and I wanted to say ‘can you come over here please?’ as I was really shocked.

“Everyone has said afterwards that I did really well, but I can’t watch it back. I was extremely nervous – I don’t feel comfortable in the limelight, I’m just Bob the joiner.

“I’ve seen many principals and brilliant teachers retire from school over my 49 years at the school. They often get a gift, one bloke got a painting, but I’ve outstripped all of them with this.

“It was certainly an experience and a half. I’ve been in the newspaper, on the television, so there’s only a film left – so I’ve told Sarah she’ll have to be my agent.”

The programme was filmed in Leeds and also on the show were Denise Van Outen, Vogue Williams, Baroness Warsi, Kaleb Cooper and football pundit Chris Kamar – who Bob bumped into in the corridor.

The biggest surprise came at the end of the interview when Steph presented Bob with £2,000 worth of travel vouchers, which the couple hope to use to travel to Madeira next year.

Bob and Sarah, who also works at the school, have worked at Royal School for the Deaf for a collective 92 years. Bob worked out that during his time at the school he has consumed 9666 school dinners and his cycle to work has notched up 73,745 miles.

Children at the school, in Ashbourne Road, were able to watch Bob’s 15 minutes of fame after staff moved their lunchbreak forward and set up televisions for the screening.

Head teacher Helen Shepherd said:

“Bob has been a valued member of the school staff for 49 years and we really wanted him to have a special send off.

“There was much excitement in school and I think some of our pupils are a little starstruck now, although I don’t think Bob has been asked to sign any autographs yet.

“We will miss Bob greatly and he is completely irreplaceable; we all wish him a long and fulfilling retirement.”

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