21st Oct 1942 – 19th June 219
I regret I have to inform you that Bob Kyte’s wife, Dot, passed away on the 19th June 2019 at the age of 76 after battling with cancer. Everyone who met her will appreciate what a tragic loss this must mean to Bob and the whole Kyte family. She was a perfect host, always happy to welcome passing ‘railway nutters’ to their home with a cup of tea and a cheerful demeanour. She was a wonderful mum to their two children, Adam and Megan, who must have grown up thinking that it was perfectly normal to restore a scrapyard wreck to steam and have technical bits from Swindon littering the house! Members with ’28 Lines No. 16’ in their collections can gauge her lovely character from her humorous article ‘Chairman’s Wife’s Notes’, in which she outlined her long suffering role. We send our sincere condolences to Bob and his family at this terribly sad time.
THE CHAIRMAN’S WIFE’S NOTES
Comments by the“Long Suffering Wife”
On reading the last issue of ’28 Lines’ when Simon referred to our “establishment” as looking like Steptoe’s Yard I felt bound to add my own comments on my life with this mad ‘Twentyeighter’ who is now your Chairman.
It all started just after our son Adam was born in 1972 when my husband innocently put some money into a collecting box on Bridgnorth Station. (He was a student at the time and we were virtually penniless since education grants are not exactly extravagant.)
From then on he has never looked back. The birth of our daughter Megan in August 1975 coincided with the time that “the engine” was being brought up from Barry. Silly me!
So one day whilst still in hospital my husband very sheepishly said would I mind if he didn’t come the next day. I was feeling happy and indulgent and said “of course not, dear”, little knowing what was to come in the following years.
My first real experience of his madness (which he calls enthusiasm) was when he said he was organising a jumble sale. Never has there been such a jumble sale before or since. For five or six weeks we distributed leaflets to hundreds of houses in our neighbourhood and consequently collected jumble (including bags and boxes of clothes, dining tables, fridges, lawn mowers, TV sets, tea-makers, washing …and so on) from those some hundreds of houses. But – where to store it all before the sale? “No trouble!” said my husband, “Put it in our dining room!” And when we had filled that we used every other conceivable space until we had just enough room to carefully move around. Eventually it was all taken away and I was left to clear up. Still, he was happy – he had made a good profit for the Society.
Then he became Membership Secretary and Newsletter Editor. Regularly after that our dining room became a newspaper office and I was roped in to address, stamp and fill 350 envelopes. After which I would haul them down to the Post Office balanced in boxes underneath Megan’s pram. People thought I was mad – I thought my husband was mad.
More things followed all in the name of making money for “the engine”, one of which was the Sponsored Walk. British Waterways have much to thank the ‘2857 Society’ for, since Bob, Adam, Rex, and Ann Butler and Steve Goodwin cleared the towpath of nettles and undergrowth from Wolverhampton to Wombourne. They arrived home in a state of near exhaustion but still ready to walk the 10½ miles next day.
Then there was the Newspaper Collection. People regularly arrive at our house, their cars very much overloaded with paper, magazines, old hymn books etc, and unload it onto our doorstep. My husband and son (you will notice he is becoming as ‘enthusiastic’ as his father), then spend hours sorting and bundling it before it is all stored in a large garden shed bought specifically for the purpose. About twice a year when the shed has bundles of newspaper stacked up into its rafters a large lorry arrives to take it away, which last time backed into the garden wall and came to rest against the drainpipe. Not a word does my husband say – now, if I had done that…
He is now your Chairman and has relinquished two jobs only, it seems, to take on many more. He spent his entire two weeks school holiday working on the Model Railway Exhibition, with the exception of Easter Monday when he helped man the Sales Stand at Bewdley.
I did think the when the exhibition was finally cleared up we might have a rest and just be able to look forward to a pleasant evening organised by David James on June 14th. However, when I said as much to Bob all he said was “We have got to get the engine finished before that”.
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