• 16 January 2019

Archdeacon West pays tribute at funeral of hillwalker Robert Robinson

The Archdeacon of Dromore and rector of Seapatrick Parish, Banbridge, has paid tribute to Robert (Robbie) Robinson, one of the two walkers to die tragically in the Mournes last Sunday. 

Ven Roderic West was speaking at the funeral in Holy Trinity Banbridge where Robert (above) was a parishioner. 

A keen sportsman and experienced hillwalker, Robert was with his son Neil when he slipped on damp ground near the top of Slieve Commedagh just before 1.00pm on Sunday. The resulting fall proved fatal, leaving a family and a community in shock.

Robert Robinson joined the RUC in 1972 and rose through the ranks to become Chief Superintendent and District Commander, based in Downpatrick. Robbie was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2006 for his service. 

Archdeacon West said, “Many of his colleagues have spoken about his leadership and mentoring abilities. In the words of colleagues ‘he was the best boss they ever worked for.’” 

A family man and devoted husband to Barbara, Robert was involved in the lives of his children, Neil and Laura, and grandchildren, Logan, Zac and Lucy. They accompanied Robert on some on his walks, including Slieve Donard, on his 60th birthday, when Logan was 3. 

The Archdeacon spoke warmly of Robert’s involvement in Seapatrick parish:

“Robert served as a Church Warden and vestry member of the parish. He was the chairman of the Fete Committee for nine years, a role he fulfilled with commitment and dedication. He had the ability to lead and be part of the team, the ability to encourage people to help and be involved. He had called into the Parish Office last week to put information about this year’s Fete in the Parish Magazine. 

“He assisted in other ways as well, including preparing the church for Christmas services, helping to put up one of the Christmas trees, and putting out the stands for the candles. 

“Robert enjoyed helping, supporting and encouraging others, being there for others. He was thoughtful, caring and considerate. He could be direct, if he needed to be. He was witty, and of course, there was that smile.

“The family have asked me to say how humbled they are by the number of friends who have called or contacted them. Many people have been impacted by his death, because as someone said, ‘If he touched your life, you remembered him.’”

On behalf of the family, Archdeacon West expressed appreciation and thanks to the Mountain Rescue Team and Police Rescue Team. “In the words of Neil, ‘From start to finish they were fantastic’, and he couldn’t praise them enough for what they did.” 

Donations in lieu of flowers are going to the Mountain Rescue Team.