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Bouncer Bob calls time at 90

A 90-year-old no-nonsense bouncer who has manned the door at a working men's club for a quarter of a century has finally retired.

Former prisoner of war Bob Dudley was the perfect choice for Irchester Working Men's Club when it wanted a tough, hard worker to take on the doorman's job and sort out the troublemakers.

After 25 years on the door he will finally get to enjoy his retirement after celebrating his 90th birthday today.

Mr Dudley, of Chapel Hill, Irchester, said: "It was my job to make sure uninvited people never came in. It kept my brain ticking and that has been the most important thing.

"I think it is important to keep working into old age. It keeps you lively and active and stops you from slouching about all over the place. It is really fulfilling."

When Irchester Working Men's Club was looking for a doorman, it chose Mr Dudley over younger candidates because of his experience and mental toughness developed over five years as a prisoner of war in Germany.

He has served the club loyally for 25 years and declared: "Every day has been a good memory. The people have been very good to me and always passed me a beer while I was out on the door."

Irchester Working Men's Club president Clifford Bates said Mr Dudley was the perfect choice for the job.

He said: "We employed him because he had a bit of charisma. If anything wanted doing he would do it. He could hold the fort.

"If anyone came in who was a stranger he would challenge them to see if they were a member of another club. If he tells them to leave, they go. No one takes any umbrage with him."

Mr Dudley was just 14 when he first did manual work on railways in and around London.

At 20 he joined the Army and was immediately at the frontline of Britain's war effort, fighting in France in 1939.

He was captured at Dunkirk a year later and was a held a prisoner for the next five years.

Mr Dudley relied on monthly Red Cross food parcels to keep him alive and said he had to fight against boredom and depression.

He said: "At times you thought that was the finish, you were never going home anymore. I thought that was it for me. Some days I was starving, and I mean really starving. "

Eventually he was released from prison and returned to the UK.

He was sent to Irchester where he met his wife Betty. They have been married for 61 years. Mr Dudley became manager at a factory and worked until retirement age.

Grand-daughter Nicola Lawrence said: "He has set a great example. He is fantastic and he keeps up with the best of them."

 
 
 

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