Tributes to long-standing Grand Theatre member who has died after cancer battle

Tributes have been paid to a long-standing Friends of the Grand Theatre member who died following a battle with cancer.

Robert Hulme meeting some of the castof Kinky Boots at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
Robert Hulme meeting some of the castof Kinky Boots at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Robert Hulme, who lived in Perton, near Wolverhampton, was also a prolific autograph hunter.

His family said he had a passion for all things theatrical – including drama, musicals and ballet – as well as films, and loved to meet and chat with the stars and collect their autographs.

Rob always managed to choose the right time to make his approach – and was rewarded with autographs from stars including Hollywood leading lady Stephanie Powers, actresses Anita Harris and Claire Sweeney and the cast of many musicals and dramas at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.

Rob's wife, Margaret, said his most famous encounter actually took place a long way from home – during a trip to the US.

She said: "During a fly drive holiday in Santa Barba in the US, Rob spotted James Earl Jones doing some filming.  So, he waited and approached the star when the time was right to politely ask for his autograph.

"They had a good chat and he seemed to be honoured that Rob had recognised him."

Robert Hulme

The couple had been long-standing members of the Friends of the Grand Theatre.

Margaret said: "We loved all of the Friends of the Grand events. We both looked forward to receiving the new booklets advertising the forthcoming shows and took pleasure in pencilling the shows that we personally wanted to see, then compared notes before booking the chosen ones.”

Apparently, Rob had so many autograph books and Margaret has yet to find one of them yet or what it contains – possibly the cast of Kinky Boots or Jersey Boys which were Rob’s favourite shows he has seen at the Grand.

Rob and Margaret were fans of the music of the 1960s too – they went to see The Fabulous show at the Grand three years running as they changed some of the stars.

Margaret added: "Rob was such a sociable person. We have all been so restricted during lockdown which he hated."

Chairman of Friends of the Grand, Richard Bourne, said: "Rob was a wonderful Grand Theatre supporter and Friends of the Grand member, along with Margaret. He will be sadly missed by us all."

Rob is survived by Margaret and daughter Sharon, who lives in New Zealand.

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