Lonely widower whose poem about wife inspired Esther Rantzen to charity dies days before 100 years birthday

Reunited with her beloved Kath: Lonely widower whose poem about deceased wife inspired Esther Rantzen’s charity dies at the age of 99 … days before her 100th birthday

  • Bob Lowe, 99, sent Dame Esther a letter about loneliness after the loss of his wife
  • Lady Esther was inspired by the letter and set up a loneliness organization to help
  • Mr. Lowe was The Silver Line’s first ambassador and spoke for the lonely
  • His poem made Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield cry on This Morning
  • Mr. Lowe died in the early hours of Monday, and Lady Ester has paid tribute










A lone widower who inspired Dame Esther Rantzen’s lonely charity died a few days before his 100th birthday.

Lady Esther paid tribute to Bob Lowe, a widower who sent her a letter inspiring her to set up The Silver Line, a service that helps older people in the UK fight loneliness.

In his letter, Lowe had included a poem he had written for his deceased wife. He later appeared on This Morning to perform the poem Ode To Kath, which brought presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield close to tears.

Mr. Lowe died at the age of 99 earlier today.

Bob Lowe (left) was the first ambassador for The Silver Line after his letter inspired Dame Esther Rantzen (right) to create charity for elderly loneliness

Bob Lowe (left) was the first ambassador for The Silver Line after his letter inspired Dame Esther Rantzen (right) to create charity for elderly loneliness

Dame Esther told the PA news agency: ‘I wrote about feelings of loneliness back in 2011, and the first personal letter I received was from Bob, who explained that his wife Kath had died two years earlier of Alzheimer’s.

He said: ‘Sixty-five years of marriage and more importantly 72 years since we first kissed … she was waiting the whole war and I for her.

“Loneliness, tell me about it.”

‘I carried that letter with me as inspiration for the creation of The Silver Line.’

Similarly, after reciting the poem on Nicky Campbell’s Radio 5 live program, it went ‘viral’ and brought a team from Australia to his door, Dame Esther said.

After appearing in a film for Sport Relief, Lowe, who was The Silver Line’s first ambassador, has raised ‘millions for charity’ through her ‘bravery and eloquence’, Dame Esther told the PA news agency.

As an ambassador for The Silver Line, Bob Lowe met celebrities and politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron

As an ambassador for The Silver Line, Bob Lowe met celebrities and politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron

BOB LOWE’S ODE TO KATH

I’m alone, now I know it’s true

There was a time when we were two

Those were the days we talked

Make small tasks of this and that

We would go to the shops and choose our meals

But now I’m one, I know how it feels

To try to cook or have meals on wheels

The rooms are empty, there is no sound

Sometimes I get lost and wander around

To apply for jobs that I can perform

To bring back the days when we were two

When darkness falls and the curtains are drawn

That’s when I feel most abandoned

But I have to be honest and tell the truth

I’m not completely alone, and here’s the proof

Because next to me in her chair

She is quietly waiting for our time to share

Kath said to me some time ago

Honey, when the time comes for us to leave

Let’s mix our ashes and be together

So we can cuddle forever and ever.

In a tribute, the former That’s Life! Presenter and producer said: ‘He was from an engineering background, he was not a literary man or a famous man, but just because of his ingenious way of expressing what so many people feel if they lose someone they love when they getting older.

‘He went everywhere and told people not to keep the loneliness to themselves, not to feel shy or ashamed of admitting it because it helps you and helps them reach out to other people.’

A few days before he passed away, Dame Esther and Lowe planned to raise awareness about loneliness to mark his upcoming 100th birthday.

Dame Esther told the PA news agency: ‘Bob and I had all sorts of plans for him to talk about being 100 and the need to reach out to older people at Christmas.

‘He would have been 100 on December 21, I saw him this week. He told me he was looking forward to being 100 and disappointed that he knew he might not make it. I told him according to the Chinese calculation, you are 100. ‘

Father of three Lowe was named New Milton Citizen of the Year in 2014, and he received a Points of Light Award from then-Prime Minister Theresa May for his charitable efforts, according to Dame Esther.

His daughter Martine Goodrich told the PA news agency: ‘We were hugely proud of Dad and how he has fared since Mother’s death and with all his volunteer work.

‘When mother died, he said to us,’ Now do not worry about me, I have things I need to do.

“Of course we had no idea where it would lead.

‘He has left behind a huge legacy and a loving extended family, which has spread all over the world.

‘Three children, six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and a host of nephews and nieces.’

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