VALE BOB SWINTON
Nobody ever accused Bob Swinton of leading a quiet life . In fact everything Bob did evolved around his three great loves. Love of Life, love of words and love of people. His magic was the boundless energy he was able to apply to bring the three together.
As Bob has not been a highly visible presence around Rostrum over the last six or seven years it might help to know a little of his background.
Everard Arthur (Bob) Swinton was an Englishman with high professional qualifications in science and recreational interests in Scouting and and Amateur Theatrics, who first came to Club 6 in 1970. He was elected President in 1972 and after serving in almost every club office was made a Life Member of Club 6 in 1990 and a Freeman of Rostrum in 1994. He continued to serve both bodies with style and dedication until he moved to the Blue Mountains after the death of his second wife Elizabeth in 2002. Even from that far away, his dedication to Club 6 was such that he usually managed to attend 1 or 2 meetings each term.
Despite his very posh English name and his Oxford accent, Everard Arthur Swinton had a delightfully offbeat sense of humour and a streak of anti in him, which was very much Australian and frequently saw him as the ringleader in some Club 6 plot designed to take the stuffiness out of the Rostrum heirachy.
When it came to speechmaking, Bob and Rostrum were made for each other . His silky way with words quickly brought him to the fore and he won Rostrum’s premier speaking event , the Jo Davis Cup, at his first attempt in 1971 and was successful again in 1977. With his competitive urge still not satisfied, he turned to coaching and ended up training no less than 5 Club 6 members to Jo Davis wins over the following years. In fact some people even had the cheek to call him the Bart Cummins of Rostrum trainers (A title he secretly loved although it is doubtful if he had any idea of who Bart Cummins is).
As a coach, Bob had the remarkable insight to be able to unerringly settle on to any deficiencies in your speech, but still send you home feeling that listening to your words had been the most pleasant thing that had happened to him all night.
Outside of club level he was the life blood and very much the motivating force behind Rostrum’s “ Voice of Youth” for many years, an activity which enabled him to creatively combine his love of words with his desire to foster the talents of young people.
It would almost be a gross understatement to say that Bob led a full life. To Bob every day was an adventure and he dared anyone to come with him for the ride, if they were game .If it was there to be done, Bob had to do it. Elizabeth once said there was a little boy in Bob that would never grow up. I am told that he worked right up until the day he died. I’m sure he would have wanted it no other way.
So Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s the Bob Swinton I would like to share with you. With his silver hair and his golden voice he was every inch the image of what every male Rostrum person (a bit of due allowance girls) would like to have of himself. He set the bar very high and, while none of us ever quite reached his level, by merely having it to aim for we became infinitely better communicators than we might otherwise have been.
The gods blessed Bob with some very special talents ; the fact that he chose to use them so generously for the benefit of others was the mark of a very special man. He will be sadly missed at Club 6, but he will never forgotten. From now on everything we do will bear his mark “ Will that be good enough for Bob ? “ or “Would Bob have done it that way ?“ That will be his legacy. Somewhere up there a new voice has been added.
Vale Bob Swinton . Club 6 Member, Rostrum Freeman
Human Being extraordinaire
Mac Wallace 5 /5/12