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Retired caretaker has only months to live
FORMER students and staff have been paying tribute to a man who has inspired many youngsters to take up sport.
Bob Frost, a retired caretaker who worked at Robert May’s School, in Odiham has been told he has only months to live because of cancer.
The 59-year-old father-of-four dedicated his spare time to helping youngsters achieve their best in sport when he was caretaker from 1991 to 1999.
Basingstoke sprinter Robert Tobin , who was part of this year’s London Olympic Games squad, said Bob was the “voice I heard cheering me on during the cross-country races”.
He said Mr Frost took him to Basingstoke and Mid Hants Athletics Club with other school pupils in a minibus and encouraged him to join the club. The 28-year-old said Mr Frost’s helped him to achieve great success, adding: “Without his help and encouragement when I was younger, I probably would not have even taken up athletics, let alone gone on to represent the country, so I thank him from the bottom of my heart.”
Will Sarell, the 62-year-old former headteacher at Robert May’s, from Old Basing, said: “He took a minibus of parents up to the north east when the school got through to the finals of the English Schools Athletics Cup. He was a very loyal member of staff who committed a large number of hours over and above what was required to support pupils, and many remember him with great fondness.”
Former pupil Kate O’Neill, 32, now a sales and marketing consultant from Basingstoke, said: “Our school sports were amazing because of him.”
She said Mr Frost ran fitness sessions after school and at weekends, which helped her improve her chances in netball trials for England. She added: “He was such a big part of my life, I still play sports now and represent my county and you always remember the people who help you get there. He had more of an impact on us and our lives than he realises.”
Mr Frost, who has 12 grandchildren, also ran sports sessions for parents and was involved in the school’s Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. His passion for sport began when he was in the army in the 1970s, serving with the Royal Hampshire Regiment. He later became head warden at Wellington Country Park. His daughter Leeann Vickery said his motto in life is “nothing is impossible”.
She said when he set up a girl’s football club at Robert May’s, he was told it would never work, but proved everyone wrong when it became a huge success. Leeann added: “My dad is a truly amazing, brave man who has taught me to be strong and enjoy life.”