Tribute: Robbie Robinson

Robbie Robinson – former member and chairman of the Wendover Choral Society died unexpectedly on 14 January at High Wycombe General Hospital.

Robbie was born of English Baptist missionary parents at Cattack in India in 1925. He and his baby sister Marjorie and parents returned to England in 1932 but a few years later his parents resumed their missionary work leaving Robbie in the care of his Aunt Flo. He entered Farnham Royal Grammar School at eleven where his academic qualifications were sufficiently good to have been offered a place to read law at Baliol College, Oxford but because of the war and shortage of money his place wasn’t accepted and instead he took a variety of jobs including one with the publisher MacMillan. Two years after the end of the war he married Kay Welsh from Farnham the union was blessed with two children. He survived his wife by more than twenty years.

Robbie’s love of books inspired him to start his own business – Academy Books – first of all in Ilford, Essex, later the firm moved to Kings Lynn and from there the family moved to Newark before finally settling in the quiet hilltop village of Dunsmore close to Wendover in 1977 where he joined the Dunsmore Singers. He travelled to London on a daily basis where he worked for the Boy Scouts Organisation, firstly as a Field Commissioner, later as an Executive Commissioner writing a “Sign of the Times”a philosophical appraisal of the Scouting organization of the 1980s.

I first met him in 2000 when he was ‘temporary’ chairman of the Wendover Choral Society, this was his second stint as chairman having previously occupied the position in the 1990s. I remember him as an enthusiastic bass, a realistic chairman and occasionally an outspoken critic.

Robbie is survived by his sister, Marjorie and his children, Paul and Tessa. His strong, witty, kind personality will be sorely missed by his friends of the Wendover Choral Society.

Peter Bassano
Music Director WCS

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