Bob Kennedy – personal reflections
I first met Bob in 2003. As Chairman of the Teignmouth Art Society (TAS), I received an invitation from Perros-Guirec inviting Teignmouth artists to exhibit work in their “Forum International des Arts”, as part of the Twinning celebration with Teignmouth. Bob, who was Chairman of the Teignmouth Twinning Association (TTA), was approached and volunteered to help. He was wholeheartedly behind the venture and proved to be a terrific support.
When the time came to take pictures and sculptures over to France, Bob volunteered to do so, even buying a second hand van for the task. It was on the final evening at Perros, that David Weekes, then Mayor of Teignmouth, invited the French (all three towns) to bring pictures over to Teignmouth the following year for a reciprocal exhibition. A bold move, since we had no venue large enough to hold such an event. David Weekes assured us that the new Performing Arts Centre under construction at the Community College would be
completed in time.
The responsibility for organising this fell right into my lap. At this point, Bob stepped up and said it was our joint responsibility and between us we decided to throw it back to the Council to support the project, which they did, by appointing Cllr Mary Strudwick to chair a committee with Bob, myself and representatives from TAS, TTA and the Town Council. Thus was born the Teignmouth International Art Forum (TIAF).
For the next 13 years Bob gave unflinching support. In 2008, when we were hosting this exhibition in Teignmouth for the second time, one of the screens that were loaned to us by the Rotary Club, was missing a heavy cast iron pedestal. I was still fretting about it when Bob turned up with a replacement! He had taken stock of the situation, popped back home and crafted one in his workshop. This is when I first became aware of Bob as a talented craftsman.
It was Teignmouth’s turn to host TIAF again in 2012. This time the exhibition was to be split between two venues, one of which had no free standing screens. Ever resourceful, Bob came to the rescue once again, designing and making a full set of eight screens.
There were other things that Bob made for us, voting boxes, donation boxes, signs etc., but he and Mary also accompanied us on our trips across France providing us with at least one French speaker in the group! I have many happy memories of his companionship. Above all, I have appreciated and am ever grateful for his loyal support and friendship over all these ventures.
I am left with a lasting memory of our highly enjoyable dinners in the Buffalo Grill at St. Quenten in Picardy. This was our regular overnight stop en route, when taking artworks on the long haul to Barr, Alsace. Cherished memories.