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Retired detective starts club for fans of the bow tie

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: January 01, 2013

By Sophia Charalambous newsdesk@essexchronicle.co.uk

  • BOW TIE BOB: Bob Miller is renowned locally for wearing a bow tie

  • jolly smart: Bow Tie Club members at the Ritz

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A BOW TIE wearing former police detective has started a new club to bring together fans of the eccentric neck accessory.

Bob Miller founded the Bow Tie Club alongside friend, Howard Bills, who used to run Keens Men's Outfitters, on New London Road, Chelmsford as the pair were notorious around the city, and still are, for wearing the fetching neck accessories from the 1960s.

And the well-dressed duo enjoyed the first meeting of their club at the Ritz hotel.

Bob, who worked for Essex Police for nearly 40 years, was known as the CID officer who wore the bow tie.

"I could never get up to any hanky panky or do anything not above board. You could never hide yourself, you were always known as the detective who wore a bow tie," said Bob, 65, from Springfield.

"Me and Howard kept in touch after I retired in 1996, and I said to him one day why don't we start a bow tie club."

The pair initially wanted to set up a club for the area, but Bob thought they could go bigger and better.

He managed to get an article published in Country Life magazine which drummed up interest from all over the country.

Amongst the readership there were 20 people who responded, and 12 people booked to attend the glitzy lunch at the Ritz last Friday.

"I have dined there about four or five times this year, people might have been put off coming because they think it is too expensive, but it isn't," said Bob.

"I even received a letter from Winston Churchill's great-grandson, Randolph, who said Churchill would have been ever so proud if he was around.

"I just want to keep the tradition alive, and was really looking forward to meeting the eclectic mix of eccentrics."

The guests came from as far as Carlisle, Devon, Dorset, with some a bit closer to home in London and Surrey.

Bob and Howard are also asking people to come up with designs for a club tie and so far have had suggestions of butterflies, a British bulldog and an Olympic purple and red theme.

Bob, who is also chairman of the Chelmsford Boxing Club said: "We are also getting The Times and The Spectator to cover our club, but I am hoping people who read the Essex Chronicle are going to keep the tradition alive and join the club.

"I have noticed an age difference between the day tie wearers and the night time wearers.

"All the boys at my boxing club like wearing their bow ties open, James Bond style, I doubt they know how to tie it.

"But it is definitely the older generation who wear their ties in the day time."

Bob even contacted TV bow tie wearers such as Gareth Malone, who directed the Military Wives choir, and Tim Wonnacott from Bargain Hunt, to attend the meeting but both were busy but sent kind letters wishing him the best of luck.

To find out about the Bow Tie Club or to join, email romanybob@aol.com.

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