Robert Dodds – sadly missed

We are sad to report the passing of Robert Dodds, who died on 4 February 2021 at the age of 79.

Robert was born in Niddrie on 20 July 1941.  He spent many years in hospitals at East Fortune, Hopetoun House and Gogarburn, before moving to his own home in Dunbar.

He was a well known and loved figure in his community, being practically a daily presence on the High Street. He could never go from one end of the street to the other without having to stop a few times to pass the time of day with people he knew.

Robert was likely to be found in one of Dunbar’s coffee shops, enjoying a cake and coffee while chatting with staff and enjoying a spot of people watching – “nosing”, as he would call it.  It was therefore fitting that his funeral service was conducted by celebrant Rhona Bell, who once ran the 1650 Coffee Shop in the town.  Rhona described Robert as a “special man”, noting it was “an honour to have known him.”

Robert’s passion was Scottish accordion music. He would attend as many dances and music events that he could, locally and further afield. He enjoyed old-time dancing at the Legion in Dunbar, as well as tea dances at the Masonic, and latterly at Bleachingfields.

Sunday nights at West Barns Inn were very special for Robert, when he enjoyed Scottish music nights which were open to all who wished to play or listen.  The nights were usually hosted by accordionist and multi-instrumentalist, Ewan Galloway.  Robert was Ewan’s number one fan and he would sit right in front of Ewan, keeping him right as he played.

Robert attended events further afield, such as The Arbroath Accordion Festival, Celtic Connections, The Fringe on the Beach in North Berwick and Perth Accordion and Fiddle Festival. Returning to these events year after year, Robert couldn’t help but endear himself to people far and wide.

Robert’s funeral was held at Houndwood Crematorium on 23 February.  Given his love for the accordion, it was apt that Ewan Galloway provided the musical accompaniment as warm memories were shared.  Ewan gave a moving rendition of The Dark Island and played a jaunty Bluebell Polka, but the highlight of his performance was Memories of Robert Dodds, a self-penned tune written in Robert’s honour.  Ewan agreed kindly to share his composition on the ELCAP website.  On contacting ELCAP to grant permission, Ewan said:

“Robert was such a kind, happy gentleman and we really developed a great friendship over time. “

Warm tributes from Robert’s support team – David Drummond, Rona Passmore and Yvonne Swan – were shared in the eulogy:

  • “Coming to work with Rob was never hard – he always had something to tell us and laughs to share and adventures to plan.”
  • “When thinking of Rob, I think of warmth, laughter and fun.”
  • “Your smile was infectious and no matter where you were, people would stop and say hello. You always turned strangers into friends.”

Robert had charm and magnetism which would draw people to him, as soon as they saw his cheery smile or caught the slightly mischievous twinkle in his eye.  He will be sadly missed, but fondly remembered.

Thanks to David Drummond, Rona Passmore and Yvonne Swan for their dedicated support for Robert and for sharing their memories of him.

Thanks to Rhona Bell, for generously sharing her eulogy.

And special thanks to Ewan Galloway for allowing us to share his beautiful tune.