Michael Robinson Memorial Service Tribute
By Michael Robinson
Good morning everyone. As you can imagine this is a place no Father wants to be. I hope my love of Myles will give me the strength to get through this.
Thank you all so much for coming to this service today. Knowing Myles has touched so many lives is an enormous comfort to us. As a family we have been simply overwhelmed by the love and support we have received. The letters, the cards, the e-mails, the flowers, the food, the visits have been unbelievable. We have probably shed enough tears to float a boat but we have been blessed with many new stories and memories.
At this time I would also like to make a special mention of our daughter Cara. She has been an absolute tower of strength to Sarah and myself throughout this ordeal. We are indeed blessed to have such a daughter.
I would like to take a moment of your time to go through Myles’ life and finish with what he meant to me and my family. Will Poole will speak later and reveal the personality and character of Myles through the eyes of a very dear friend. Will also has been a great support to our family.
I guess life really starts with one’s schooldays. Myles first proper school was Squirrels pre-prep school in Wimbledon. It was here that Myles met Malcolm Roberts, the sports master and who instilled in Myles a love of sports that would never cease. Myles at the age of 8 went on to Ashdown House prep school in East Sussex. This was probably the happiest time of his schooldays. Not too much work pressure and plenty of fun to be had. Here Myles blossomed from a relatively shy boy into a schoolboy of boundless enthusiasm for having fun and here made some lifelong friends. It was on the Ashdown House Easter Holidays skiing trips that Myles first began to hone his skiing ability and his love of the mountains and the snow was born.
Myles passed his Common Entrance into Charterhouse with flying colours in 2000 and became a third generation Robinson to enter Hodgsonites. As much as he loved Charterhouse, I cannot remember him ever having had a truly good report. His infectious enthusiasm was not always received warmly by the beaks and he probably could have worked much harder. It was here that Myles discovered water polo and he became a first class goalie (not surprising perhaps with his wingspan). Water polo would forever play a big part of his life.
Myles left Charterhouse in 2005 having just done enough work to get the necessary grades to enter Newcastle University. But first he was to have a gap year. The highlight of his year was the time he spent in Ghana teaching football to the schoolchildren of Accra. It seems he also found some golf clubs and started teaching them the joys of hitting a golf ball. How they must laughed when he shanked one. During his gap year Myles started working with the MECCO catering company. Initially seemingly to earn some beer money but quickly he learned to love the work and the people he worked with. Myles also worked the Wimbledon fortnight as a day steward and this quickly became a high point of the year for him. The letters and cards from his colleagues at both Mecco and Wimbledon testify to an exceptionally popular young man with whom everyone wanted to be working with. Many stories relate to his ability to communicate with the young and old as one and treat every age group the same.
In Sep 2006 Myles duly took up his place at Newcastle University to read Economics with Business Management. The student life at Newcastle proved to be the prime years in the life of Myles. He developed from boyhood into a man of such charisma that few who met him could easily forget him. He stood out of the crowd for many more reasons than his 6’5” frame. He seemed to have an endless entourage of friends from the water polo teams, the golf mates, the course students.
It was of course at Newcastle that Myles met the love of his life. Sophie shares our heartache but with the support of her loving family she has showed immense courage. Sophie will forever be a part of our family.
Myles graduated from Newcastle last summer and set about finding himself a job and a career. Perhaps there has never been a more challenging time for graduates seeking employment than the last year. Despite some setbacks, Myles remained confident in his abilities. In December his search ended when he was offered a position at Partners Capital, a financial services company. Myles was ecstatic and would have started his career on 4th January.
I have no praise high enough for the personnel at Partners Capital. On Christmas Day, just a day after the story first broke, I received an e-mail from the CEO on holiday in the USA. He offered us the total support of his firm if there was anything at all they could help us with. After Myles was found, Partners Capital wanted to honour Myles in some way and they suggested to us the setting up of a Memorial Trust in his name. This from a company that Myles had not worked for one single day was remarkable. The trust was launched two weeks ago with the aim of enabling young British people to teach sports to underprivileged children both at home and abroad. Full details can be found at www.mylesrobinson.co.uk and the address is printed on the back of the service sheet.
Partners Capital has started the fund with a significant contribution and have agreed to manage the fund for 10 years. I cannot imagine a finer company from where to begin a career. One I know he would have made a great success out of.
So what can I say of Myles, our son and ‘little bro’ to Cara.
It seems strange to say that we have probably learnt more about Myles in death than in his lifetime. We have received so many stories and memories of Myles that we had never heard before. Some of the most common words we have heard were – Caring – Charming – Delightful – Fun – Enthusiastic – Lived life to the full – Polite – Handsome (takes after his Dad!) – Never a bad to say about anyone.
Throughout his life he had a passion for sport. He loved his water polo, his skiing, his golf and his love of Chelsea. When Myles was six, I took him to see his first Chelsea game at Stamford Bridge. The game happened to be against Man Utd. And from that day he started to support Man Utd!! I think he must have been going through his ‘parents aren’t cool’ period, so supporting the same team as your Dad was a no-no. I am pleased to say that a few years later he changed his mind about Chelsea and he became one of their most enthusiastic of fans.
His love of golf probably came from his Dad. I encouraged him from an early age and he showed great promise. Myles was a member of The Berkshire GC and the Royal Cinque Ports GC. Every year his golfing highlight was Deal Week, a 10 day festival of golf open to anyone. He always tried to find the best possible partner, overlooking me for years until last year, he realised that with my advancing years, we better give it a shot sooner than later. The memories of our 3 days, playing 6 rounds and winning on the 18th hole will never leave me. A friend of his recently told me that Myles had said to him that it was the proudest day of his life. Little did he know how proud he had made his Dad.
The Berkshire I know would have come into his life. He loved the courses at The Berkshire was so proud to be a member there.
I am today wearing the Old Carthusian Golf Society tie. At the Autumn Meeting last September, Myles noticed how frayed and worn my tie was and his Christmas present to me last year was a brand new tie. Myles would have become a loyal supporter of the society and was determined to introduce more young golfers to the society.
Myles, I now realise from all the letters was a man of many nicknames. Will may touch on some of them. One that amused me greatly was as a result of Cara working on the TV coverage of the European Senior Tour. Some of the players she interviewed were somewhat vertically challenged and because they had to look up at her, they called her Par 5. When Cara introduced Myles to some of the players at the Senior Open at Sunningdale last July, Myles duly became known as Par 6!
It is now time for me to say goodbye. There is now an unfillable Myles-shaped hole in our hearts. I have tried so hard to erode words like why / how / waste / despair from that hole and replace them with positive thoughts and the many memories we have, but it is hard. We will have to learn to live with that hole and try, over time to make it a little smaller, less painful. We will remember the one who once filled it, talk to him, look at photos of him, talk to others as they share their memories. This may make the hole more painful in the short term but more real. We must not just try to paper over the hole, pretend it is not there. This has to be faced up to with total honesty for this is real and it has happened.
It is one of life’s great ironies that the source of such great love, can also be the cause of so much pain.
I AM SAD
– That I shall never play another round of golf with him
– That we shall never watch our beloved Chelsea together again
– That he will never know the joy of marriage nor the love of being a parent
– That he never had the chance to fulfil his enormous potential
BUT I AM PROUD
– To have known him as my son and friend
– For the love he showed to his family
– To have known what he meant as a friend to so many of you here today
– To have so many memories of a short life lived to the full
– That his name and memory will never be forgotten
In concluding I came across a poem called REMEMBER ME by David Harkins. I believe that if Myles knew what was to befall him, the sentiments expressed in the poem are the way he would have wanted us to remember him and to carry on.
“Do not shed tears that I have gone
But smile instead because I have lived.
Do not shut your eyes and pray to God that I’ll come back
But open your eyes and see all that I have left behind.
You can remember me and grieve that I have gone
Or you can cherish the memory and let it live on.
You can cry and let yourself become distraught
And turn your back on the world.
Or you can do what I want – smile, wipe away the tears
Learn to live again and go on.”
On the back of the service sheet today you will find these words:
A CANDLE THAT BURNS TWICE AS BRIGHT – BURNS HALF AS LONG.
Myles’ candle was surely one of the brightest we have known or will ever know.
Farewell my son and rest in peace.