Obituary: 'Devoted family man' who loved scooters dies aged 74

The family of Robert Williams have spoken of his love scooters and donating blood in light of his death at age 74.

The family of Robert Williams have spoken of his love scooters and donating blood in light of his death at age 74. - Credit: Carla Russell

A hard-working factory man who had an obsession with scooters and donated an extraordinary 113 pints of blood during his lifetime, has died aged 74.  

Born in Richmond Road on 12 October, 1947, Robert Williams was the son of Joyce and Bob.

After attending Colman Junior School and Earlham Boys School, Robert realised education wasn't for him and soon moved into a five-year apprenticeship position at Boulton and Paul - a factory producing windows and stairs.

Carla Russell, Robert Williams' daughter, said: ""We had our family holidays to the Norfolk coast every year."

Carla Russell, Robert Williams' daughter, said: ""We had our family holidays to the Norfolk coast every year." - Credit: Carla Russell

This turned into a 17-year career before he left in 1980.

Pauline Williams, Robert's wife, said: "His machine jammed one day and the silly man put his hand in it.

"He was lucky he didn't lose it altogether - he got away with just two broken fingers but they were never straight again."

It was around his 18th birthday that Robert started to get interested in motorbikes - however his mum was against the idea.

Robert Williams met his wife, Pauline Williams, in 1967 and got married in October 1968.

Robert Williams met his wife, Pauline Williams, in 1967 and got married in October 1968. - Credit: Carla Russell

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Pauline said: "The next best thing for him was getting a scooter - he bought a Vespa which he loved.

"The day after he bought it he opened the throttle and the scooter went off down the road without him - he ended up scraping all down the side of it."

It was during this time in Robert's life that he met his wife-to-be Pauline.

She said: "We met in 1967 - I was 16 and he was 19 - I already knew him as he actually went out with a friend of mine who got rid of him.

"So I swooped in and we started going out on the Friday - the following Tuesday we went out dancing at the Gala in St Stephens Road and he said 'I'm going to marry you' which I didn't believe.

"But 20 months later we got married at Holy Trinity Church - on Robert's 21st birthday.

"We would ride everywhere together on his Vespa - Yarmouth, Cromer, we even went to Somerset on it one year."

Robert Williams lived in Norwich his entire life and working in a number of factories.

Robert Williams lived in Norwich his entire life and working in a number of factories. - Credit: Carla Russell

While Robert worked on the line at various jobs he always wanted to try and achieve more - and this came in the form of donating blood.

Pauline said: "His friend's dad originally talked him into giving blood when he was 18 and he never looked back - carrying on until he was 66.

"He really felt like he had achieved something when he donated - he ended up donating 113 pints.

"He got a decanter for his 75th pint - ironic since he was teetotal - but for his 100th pint he was given a crystal plate."

Robert Williams was an avid blood donor - giving 113 pints over 48 years.

Robert Williams was an avid blood donor - giving 113 pints over 48 years. - Credit: Carla Russell

Carla Russell, Robert's daughter, added: "He always used to say he went for the cup of tea and biscuits."

After marrying his sweetheart Pauline, the pair had their first daughter Wendy in 1974, before Carla was born in 1980.

Carla, now 41, said: "He was quietly in the background but always there for us.

"We used to go for walks together when I was little and I had to run to be able to keep up with the giants steps he took.

"He also used to breed rabbits and we went down to the cattle market with him - I loved spending that time with him.

"We had our family holidays to the Norfolk coast every year - time with family was so special to him," she added.

Robert was referred to Papworth hospital in April 1 to have double bypass and heart valve replacement surgery.

Complications after the surgery was completed meant he never came round from the operation and died on April 5.

Carla Russell, Robert Williams' daughter, said that, as a father: "He was always there for us."

Carla Russell, Robert Williams' daughter, said that, as a father: "He was always there for us." - Credit: Carla Russell

Being a massive scooter fan Robert's family is looking for any groups willing to lead his hearse on May 6 - leaving from Lakenham and arriving at St Faiths crematorium.

Carla said: "We want to celebrate his life and give him a good send-off.

"He would love something like this - it would be a nice tribute to him."

Robert leaves behind wife Pauline Williams, two daughters Carla and Wendy, as well his five grandchildren Joe, Jade, Jake, Jazmyn and Myah.