'He was a proper Sunderland character' - Tributes paid to popular Sunderland rag and bone man Bobby Marshall

Tributes have been paid to a popular Sunderland rag and bone man who was known as one of the city’s legendary characters.

Monday, 11th November 2019, 4:59 pm
Sunderland rag and bone man Robert Marshall.

Robert Marshall started working as a rag and bone man at the age of just 17 and spent decades collecting scrap materials on his horse and cart.

Born in 1923 and raised in Sunderland’s east end, Robert – who was known as Bobby – was a hard worker all of his life.

He would set off at dawn and work all day, collecting the likes of scrap metal, wool and rags to sell on to a scrap yard.

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Sunderland rag and bone man Robert Marshall.

The materials would be weighed and the total would equate to payment.

Working until the age of 80, Bobby was well known by people in the city, who spent decades hearing him shouting the call of the rag and bone man and see him driving the horse and cart around the city.

But after an incredible career spanning around 60 years, the much-loved granddad sadly died aged 95 on October 30.

Impressively, he had lived in his own flat in Hendon until shortly before he passed away.

A dad of two daughters Linda Auton, 73, and Brenda Reardon, 64, Bobby also had four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Paying tribute to her dad, Brenda said: “Everybody knew him in Sunderland, they used to say he was a legend.

“He didn’t stop working as a rag and bone man until he was 80 because he enjoyed it and it kept him fit.

“He used to have a horse and cart and used the stables at Hendon beach.

“He would get up at the crack of dawn and work all day

“He would even pick up washing machines on his own.

“He always had money in his pocket and never had a bank account.”

Bobby was also known to enjoy a drink and a bet on the horses and spending time with his family.

Brenda continued: “He was a proper Sunderland character.

“He was well known through his work and was such a lovely man.

“He was very generous and people would say you couldn’t meet a better guy.

“Everybody loved him.

“He idolised us and he loved his grandchildren – he used to say they kept him going.

“We couldn’t have wished for a better dad, he was perfect to us.”

His funeral will be held at 10.30am on November 13 at Sunderland Crematorium and will be led by a horse drawn carriage.