The fifth man I would like to introduce is Robert (Bob) Flanagan, the Woodwork Teacher.
Bob was a very dear friend of mine for over fifty years. He was born in 1932 and died in December 2018. He was apprenticed to a builder for 5 years and then trained to be a Technical School Trade Teacher. He spent 32 years as a teacher, mostly at Sandringham Technical School, teaching Woodwork.
Bob’s main pleasure in life centred around friendship – he delighted in contact and connection with family and friends. He was a great friend to me; this Christmas I was acutely aware that I wouldn’t be receiving my “talking Christmas card”, i.e. his Christmas greetings phone call. I missed it greatly.
Having enjoyed incredible health all his life, in June last year, Bob was diagnosed with mesothelioma – the effect of working with asbestos all those years as a teacher. The woodwork shop at Sandringham Tech (as it was then called) had no ceiling, so Bob was exposed to airborne particles of asbestos.
Bob’s story tells of his courage at the end of his life. I am honoured to be able to include him in the exhibition and to tell his story, with the help of his daughter Deb. I only wish he were here to enjoy it!