Long-serving Ripley resident Bob dies at 89

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Robert Blackhurst – a 
pioneer in his field and a pillar of the Ripley community – has died, aged 89.

Robert, also known as Bob, started his career as an engineer, working on Sir Frank Whittle’s early jet designs.

Originally from Clitheroe, Lancashire, Bob and his wife of 67 years Jean moved to Ripley and lived in the town for more than 50 years.

Up north he had worked on early jet engine designs which eventually became the Rolls Royce Derwent jet engine, which was used to power the Gloster Meteor – Britain’s first-ever jet fighter.

Rolls Royce then took over from Rover, which led to Bob’s move to the area.

He worked as a design engineer and became an authority on the manufacture of jet engine components utilising composite materials.

After declining offers of employment in the USA, he continued his work in Derbyshire, designing components and registering hundreds of patents of his own design, many of which are now operating in the RB211 engine.

Bob stayed until his retirement in 1982 – then later moved to Wimborne in Dorset.

Bob leaves Jean, his children Lynne and Robert and grandson Matthew.

Son Robert said of his dad: “He will be sadly missed and remembered for his love of his family, generosity, humour and love of a good time by all of us, his extended family and his friends.

“He spent many happy years in Ripley, where he and my mum made so friends and shared many memories.”