A Lasting Tribute to Bob

Bob Keeler When Bob Keeler lost his fight with PSP, his family decided to celebrate his life by opening a Tribute Fund, which also meant that they could support the PSPA and others affected by the disease.

The Bob Keeler Tribute Fund was set up on 20 May 2010, the day after Bob's death, and over this time the family has raised over £3000 in his memory, all of which will be used to help the charity continue the vital work we undertake.

Bob's family, including his wife Wendy and daughters Nicola and Sally, together with his many friends contribute to the Tribute Fund via www.muchloved.com, a website that enables individuals to remember a loved one by setting up an on line tribute fund. The site is fully interactive and has many features including a memorial garden, pictures even music can also be uploaded by family and friends, as well as donations made to the charity you wish to support.

Wendy, Bob's wife said, 'Bob certainly lived his life to the full until he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2001. He was determined he would fight this and wouldn't let it stop him from doing the things he loved best. Sadly though, a few years later Bob was also diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)'.

Wendy cared for Bob for as long as was humanly possible and her dedication is to be applauded. 'Bob fought this illness with great courage and dignity until the end, never once complaining," said Wendy.

Sadly, Bob passed away on 19 May 2010, at his home surrounded by his family. Bob's daughter Nicola Turnbull told us a bit about her dad. "After qualifying in electrical engineering in 1954, dad developed a passion for racing motorcycles and riding a Norton. In fact he won the Isle of Man TT in 1954, but a serious accident soon after put an end to his racing. Instead, he went into motorcycle retailing and was assisted by his racing sponsor, John Vicars. Bob eventually had shops in Wembley, Eastcote, Greenford, Harrow, Hayes, Hillingdon and Southall.

"Bob met mum in 1954. She worked as a hairdresser a few doors away from one of Bob's shops. He 'enquired who she was' and as the saying goes, 'the rest is history'."

Bob and Wendy had three children, Sally, Robert and Nicola. Sadly, Robert died in 1981 at the age of 19 from leukaemia.

Bob had a passion for classic cars and had a great collection. He owned a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, a Blower Bentley and a beautiful 8 Litre Bentley, to name but a few. Bob and Wendy became members of the Bentley Drivers Club and toured the world in the beloved 8 Litre Bentley. There were many classic rallies to Russia, Turkey, South Africa and Morocco. Bob and Wendy also completed a trip driving from London to Peking in a Range Rover over a two month period. They travelled to places such as Cannes, Gobi Desert, USA and New Zealand in some of the various classic cars Bob owned.

Nicola explains why the family opened a Tribute Fund for Bob and how the funds are raised: "The reason I set up the Tribute Fund for my Dad was that I wanted to celebrate his life and share with everyone how immensely proud my family and I are of him and what he managed to achieve during his lifetime, in a way that would last for years. A Tribute Fund and the MuchLoved memorial website provide that. Setting one up was like a personal gift to my Dad. I set it up the day after he died and it gave me a focus, and helped keep me going through those darkest days.

"Before setting the fund up I talked it over with my family who all agreed it would be a great way to keep Dad's memory alive. His grandchildren also have something to remind them of what fun he was, which is great. It brings a great deal of comfort to all the family when we read thoughts from friends, and look at photos on the site. Even friends who have never met Dad have said what a beautiful tribute it is and what a wonderful, adventurous man he was. This has brought us all great comfort knowing people think of him in this way. My whole family was devastated by this illness and wanted to raise as much money as possible. Having this tribute online allows us to do this and also raise money for the vital work undertaken by the PSP Association."

In February this year Nicola and her husband organized a Memorial sailing race for Bob in Dubai to raise awareness and funds for the PSP Association. "We have a boat here in Dubai and thought it would be a good idea to organize this event as my husband and I are keen sailors" said Nicola. "It went so well that it will be an annual event and with dad also being a keen sailor it makes it even more special!"

Tribute Funds are a great and lasting way of remembering a loved one or friend whilst also raising funds for the work of the PSPA. Since Tribute funds were introduced, over £100,000 has been raised as a direct result. This has enabled us to continue supporting many thousands of people with PSP, their families and carers, and also fund vital research to find a cure. Once a Tribute Fund has reached £2,500 we will 'Dedicate a Tree' in a Woodland Trust Reserve in memory of the person named in the fund and you will receive a special certificate marking the occasion.

You can set up a Tribute Fund using www.muchloved.com or if you don't have access to the web you can open one up via PSPA. Once it's set up we'll keep you informed of how much is in the fund and update you on how the money is being used.

If you would like to set up a Tribute Fund please contact Lis Nunn, Tribute and Legacy Officer at The PSP Association on 01327 356132