More About Me
Updated: Thursday, 02 March 2006
Despite an uncertain start my life has been interesting, to say the least. I am in the process of going through old photographs trying to put together a "picture" of my life.

I was born on Wednesday, 22nd October 1947 at the Radcliff Infirmary, Oxford. Mine was a "breach birth" with mother's  umbilical chord getting caught around my neck reducing the blood supply to my brain and leaving me with mild cerebral palsy.

Please click on picture to ENLARGE it.

WCW.JPG (17410 bytes) This is the earliest photo of me that I can find. I am being held by my grandmother, Charlotte Willis. I guess it was taken in early 1948. It is difficult to see evidence of my cerebral palsy in the picture and to obtain clues of what the future might hold. Interestingly whilst I am reaching out with my right hand, my left hand appears to be clenched and bent -- it is my left hand which is most affected.
ME&BET21.JPG (10786 bytes)Here I am aged 4, with my sister Bettine aged 2 and my Aunt Bet in the background. We are on the beach at Hayling Island, Hampshire.

MESF26.JPG (17737 bytes) ME27.JPG (18314 bytes)  OGG.JPG (14260 bytes) CDWTS.JPG (9126 bytes)

This series show how I have aged!

CHOIRA~2.JPG (57161 bytes) CHOIRA~1.JPG (49618 bytes)

This is the Admission Certificate I was given when I was admitted to the choir of St. Mary's, Speenhamland in April 1958. The choirmaster was Mr. Hunt and the vicar, the Rev. J.M. Phipps.

ME&BET20.JPG (15308 bytes)

With my sister in South Wales.

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I joined the Newbury Squadron No. 211 of the Air Training Core in the early 1960s.

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Andover Walk

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At Snelsmore Common.

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I passed my driving test on 1 January 1965. My parents gave me a course of six driving lessons for 17th birthday (22 October 1964) and I was taught to drive on a Vauxhall Viva. I remember my first lesson well. It was on a Sunday afternoon and when I changing gear whilst driving up the hill south of the Kennet and Avon Canal at Hampstead Marshall the gear lever came away in my hand! 

Over the years I have owned several cars including:

  1. Blue Ford Escort Estate

  2. White Ford Escort 105 E van

  3. Black 1954 Humber Hawk

  4. Austin A60 Estate

  5. White Ford Escort Estate

  6. Blue Triumph 2000 Saloon (Automatic)

  7. Beige Austin Maxi HL with a sunshine roof.

  8. Bedford Caravanette

  9. Peguoet 205 

  10. Range Rover SE

  11. White Triumph Spitfire

  12. Blue Ford Escort Carbrolette

  13. Red Land Rover Discovery tdi

  14. Green Land Rover Discover tfi5

Christchurch Choir Outing.jpg (26923 bytes)Eating nougat on the 1993 Choir Outing.

22_10_6C.JPG (20214 bytes)This is me reading the bible at Caesarea Philippi on my birthday on 22 October 1996.

05_10_96.JPG (8774 bytes)Taken on 5 October 1996 this shows me wearing the Steeleye Span 25th Anniversary sweatshirt. My sister to me to that concert held at the Anvil in Basingstoke as a birthday present. I have long been a fan of Steeleye Span and have several of their CDs.

22_11_96.JPG (9320 bytes)In 1996 a served a year as President of the Old Parkonians Association. This is me wearing the President's chain of office giving the president's speech at the Annual Dinner and Disco held at The Old Mill, Aldermaston on 22 November 1996.

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HAPPYB~1.JPG (35191 bytes)As you may have guessed, I love chocolate and this was a much appreciated birthday present. Incidentally, in the left background is a Quality Street. This is my sweetie tin which Charmian keeps well-stocked. Right of my preset is my wooden napkin ring with "Robert" carved on it. Also a package of Condor pipe tobacco.

DUTCH4.JPG (3754 bytes)Captured from a home video, this is me by my Peugeot 205 on a trip to Holland.


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Emma Dun and me

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Me and dogs on stairs drinking milk.

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Me and my cousin, Frank Cater.

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This is me with Thomas. I use this image as my logo.

IC.JPG (16766 bytes)

A teenaged me.

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Me in my |Den.

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Still from one of the few videos of me.

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Mt nephew Matthew and me.

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RANDM021.JPG (16997 bytes)This was taken B.C. (before Charmian) and shows me with Madeline Harwood at a Y .C. in "The Hatchet". In the background are Diane Westlake and Julian Smallwood. The picture was taken in the early 1970s. I have not seen them for years and would love to hear from them again.

ROBERT~2.JPG (18367 bytes)Sue Waldie (nee Brown) who I have known since my 
Y. C. days were born on the same day (22nd October) although not in the same year - guess who is older!


ROB018.JPG (32990 bytes)

RUDGEA~1.JPG (45882 bytes)With Rudge on the lawn at "The Nook". Note I am sporting a beard and wearing a Portsmouth Polytechnic scarf. (c. 1968)

T&H&ME.JPG (6499 bytes)

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From time to time I grow a moustache.

St Mary's choir outing to Stonehenge. If you recognise anyone in the picture, please E-mail me.

On Christmas Day 2001 BBC1 broadcast the Christmas Day Service, "God's Surprise", from St. Nicolas church, Newbury. It was my privilege and pleasure to be singing in the choir. Here are some pictures.

GS09.JPG (23739 bytes)

GS1.JPG (24553 bytes)

Relaxing before the broadcast. Screen capture.
GS2.JPG (16477 bytes) GS3.JPG (11680 bytes)
Screen capture. Screen capture.


I am not very good at selling myself. Below is an attempt I wrote for the Speenhamland Governors' web-site in September 2000.

LEA Governor:

Mr. Robert F. Willis

Wearing Steeleye Span.jpg (48963 bytes)


Retired Scientific Civil Servant

Committees, etc:

Buildings & Sites (Chairman)
Governor Development
After School Computer Club


Bob attended Speenhamland as a pupil from 1952 to 1959. He has lived in and around Newbury all his life. From birth Bob has suffered from mild cerebral palsy and sacrificed much of his schooling by needing to attend physiotherapy three time a week at Newbury Hospital and speech therapy once a week at Greenham House. 

After Speenhamland he attended Park House (1959-1964) where he gained four GCE 'O' levels and day-release at Newbury College where he gained ONC in Sciences. He attempted a BSc in Applied Physics at Portsmouth Polytechnic and HNC at Reading College but found his handicap prevented him from keeping apace with the volume of work.

After a period of unemployment and an assessment at the Egham Industrial Rehabilitation Unit he joined the UKAEA as a Scientific Assistant specializing in electronics in 1969. As technology advances meant that thermionic valves were replaced by transistors and then  transistors by integrated circuits he switched from electronics to computing in the mid-70s - his hands could just about cope with trays of punched cars and rolls of paper tape. He welcomed the transition to remote access terminals and magnetic tape which followed and became an accomplished programmer and later computer system manager including hardware and software procurement. In 1994, having risen to the grade of Senior Scientific Officer, he volunteered for early retirement in order to act as a carer for his widowed mother and to pursue his other interests.

Despite stammering, Bob is able to sing and was a member of Speenhamland School Choir. He is currently sings bass in St. Nicolas Church Choir and in the Cromwell Singers. Also, despite his stammer, Bob enjoys reading and speaking in public. The ethos learnt at Speenhamland of being encourage to "have a go" and "do your best" despite the odds has helped him on numerous occasions through the ups and downs of life. In fact, Bob has been known to become quite cross when others give up at the first hurdle and fail to achieve their full potential.

Bob is delighted to be a governor at Speenhamland and in a small way perpetuate the ethos which equipped him for life in secondary school, further education, work and play. Much has improved in the last 50 years although there remains much to do.

Community Involvement:

The Newbury Society   Editor of "Newbury Society News" 
Membership Administrator
Desk Top Publishing
Newbury & District Organists' Association Hon. Treasurer
Cromwell Singers Bass Representative
St. Nicolas Church Chorister
Communications Committee Member
Wednesday Lunchtime Worship Leader
Desk Top Publishing
Newbury Deanery Churches Inspection Committee Hon. Secretary & Treasurer
WBC Social Services Lay Visitor

Hobbies & Interests:

Computing inc, the Internet
Theatre especially The Watermill
Music - all sorts except jazz.


Ice Cream
Mc Donalds - ambition is to visit every Mc Donalds in the world.
Radio 4
World Service
UK Gold
Steak & Ale Pie
Jam doughnuts
Ushers Best Bitter
Red Wine especially Italian


People who finish sentences for me!


Saying "Never underestimate intelligence, never over estimate knowledge."
Author John le Carré
Book "Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway"
City Venice
Hymn He That Is Down Need Fear No Fall
No. 218 in A & M New Standard
Worship Song As The Deer
No. 27 in Songs of Fellowship
Psalm 133

E-mail Address:



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