Will Poole Memorial Service Tribute
A Tribute To Myles
By Will “aka Shaheen” Poole
When friends and loved ones are lost many people regret the inadequacy of words as a means of conveying their pain and sadness. Many of the kind letters to the Robinson family, and the kind and touching tributes written by friends of Myles began with the phrase ‘words cannot describe’. Words cannot describe how every single person in this room was shocked and devastated by Myles leaving us. Yet the impact of Myles Robinson’s life on this world and the people in this chapel needs not describing with words. We need not words to see the hundreds of people who have gathered here today to pay their respects to a great man, a great brother, a great son and a great friend. The presence of so many friends and loved ones is all the evidence we need to understand the wonderful life Myles enjoyed and the truly positive effect he had on all that he met. This is therefore a very special celebration of Myles Robinson, attended by those who loved him and he loved in return. We must celebrate that the paths of our lives crossed with that of Myles’. We were fortunate enough to have met Myles Robinson. Whilst I have over the course of the last six weeks been consumed by grief, as have we all, I still feel a sadness to those who never met this man. Those people did not meet “The Slob”. Those people did not laugh with “Robbo”.
It is only through the voices of those who are as fortunate as we that Myles can truly be remembered as the wonderful spirit and personality he was. It is testament to the man that there are so many very close friends here today. There are those here who attended Charterhouse and Ashdown with Myles, also those who studied at Newcastle with him, there are those who played countless games of water-polo, countless rounds of golf, countless games of football with him, countless hands of poker, or enjoyed a valuable two minutes with him on a ski lift. Some have worked with Myles, for Mecco, at Wimbledon, at Twickenham, at Queens. Some have shared the beaches of Portugal and Abersoch with him, or travelled to Ghana with him. Others will have briefly encountered the man, and yet find themselves touched to such an extent as to be here honouring him. It is the breadth of people in this room, and the depth of the friendships that Myles created, that shows us what a great guy he was.
There is of course, also his beautiful girlfriend, Sophie, with whom he enjoyed the last three years of his life, and his wonderful, loving family. To understand Myles is to see the rock upon which his fantastic life was built, that of Michael, Sarah and Cara. He adored his family. It is without doubt that THE single proudest moment of his life was when he and Michael won the Deal foursomes golf tournament in August 2009. I received regular texts updating me on his performance, and although I responded mocking that it must have been Michael’s 4 handicap that carried them through, I knew that it meant absolutely everything to him, and that he played extremely well.
So what of Myles Robinson, and that infamous and infectious smile? The description that runs salient through all of the tributes to Myles, online and in letters written to his family, describe Myles’ broad grinning smile as his most loveable and memorable feature. I ask you – How many times in your interaction with the man did he look at you with an extremely silly grin on his face, forcing a spontaneous and immediate laugh or smile from you in return? You all met Myles – think of that smile, the cheekiest of mischievous grins you will have seen. I urge you to smile. It is a characteristic that was emblazoned across his face throughout his life, and as such we should remember him with a smile on ours. If you can picture that grin in your head as vividly as I can, I know this will not be difficult for you.
Many of us knew Myles affectionately as ‘slob’. Myles became the ‘slob’ at some point during University, as a result of his affinity with any vacant sofa, and his ability to occupy one watching Sky Sports News for hours and hours. His fantasy football team, still I believe sitting at the top of the league, is self titled “Go on the Slob”. All who met him will have known his unfaltering love of Chelsea football club, and you could predict with an extraordinary degree of precision where slob would be when they played, glued to the telly with a brewski in his hand. His love of sport was a central theme to his life.
There was, however, one word that would magically inspire the Slob out of his relaxing TV viewing position, and that was ‘Golf’. It’s fair to say that it did not take much to get the guy onto the first tee. He absolutely loved his golf and the golf course is where I got to know Myles, spending hours and hours of valuable time with him. I cannot help but smile when I think back to the numerous occasions where Myles and I would bumble down the fairway taking the mick out of each other. A friend of Myles’ from Mecco, Alice Delmar-Morgan, told me of a great memory that she has of Myles was when she was his Manager at the HSBC golf tournament at Wentworth. Myles, unsurprisingly, spent more time watching the golf than he did working! Every time Alice would check on him, he wasn’t where he was meant to be, he was on the 18th hole watching Tiger! According to Alice it was his natural charm and nature that allowed him to get away with it…”but Delmar” Myles exclaimed “ you know how much I love golf”!!! He was held in the highest regard at two fine golf clubs, the Berkshire and the Royal Cinque Ports, where he loved to be and play.
The highlight of my time shared with Myles is in August 2009, where Myles, Ollie Tunnicliffe, Nick Pritchard and I created the ‘Alumni Golf Tour’, and drove down to Bordeaux to play 5 rounds of golf over 5 days. We shared an amazing week, playing on Championship golf courses, visiting vineyards to dabble in some wine tasting, and back to a great villa where we enjoyed massive spreads of food, more great wine, and most importantly great company. Myles’ himself was as keen as all of us that the tour continue every year. We have a trophy, now of course in his name, to compete for every year. Myles will know that Pritch, Tuna, myself, and anyone else we decide to invite will continue the tour for the next 50 years or more.
Myles gained a new nickname on this tour. As we drove down to Dover, we had windows wound down, listening to the 3rd Ashes Test, clearly enjoying that we were on top of the Aussies. As many of you know, it wasn’t until September that Myles had his bunions removed. Myles was extremely proud of his bunions, but in August they were there to provide us friends with ammunition. As the test coverage continued, Graham Onions stood up to the plate to rip through the Australian batting line up. Every wicket that he took led to an increased intensity of laughing with Myles and his bunions, of course now his new nickname was Graham Bunions, later abbreviated to Graham. The banter bounced off Graham with a cheeky grin, and he would then launch his counter attack. Myles would either call me “fatboy” or “Shaheen Jafargoli from Britain’s Got Talent”. When playing golf, especially in France, the counter attack would usually consist of Myles exclaiming ‘Hello Water’ as someone’s sliced tee shot veered towards danger. Of course on the numerous occasions, at the end of a round where someone’s golf was below standard, Myles would casually remind you, in jest, of the poor quality of your golf, especially if you were his playing partner. “How rubbish were you today Shaheen? He’d say…….. “Yeeeaaaas, I know, thank you Graham”
As early as his time at Charterhouse, Myles had decided that he certainly was the right build to be a more than proficient water polo goalie. On his Charterhouse leavers yearbook page, under the heading ‘things I’m most likely to say’ Myles wrote ‘I should be captain of water polo’. Under the heading ‘things I’m least likely to say’ Myles wrote ‘I shouldn’t be Captain of water polo’! That was a little glimpse of Myles’ humour for you. On the subject of Myles’ humour, let us not forget the time when Myles first met the lovely Sophie; he turned to many of us and boasted “it’s great, she is literally the only person I know who finds my jokes funny.” How sweet that was.
At Newcastle Myles referred to water polo constantly “Off to water polo training” he’d say, or (with heightened excitement) “no can do, sorry mate, I’m out with the Water Polo boys tonight.” That was an ominous statement for us who knew how the water polo team celebrated win, draw, or loss with equal intensity. He referred to his Water Polo with such affection, clearly held his team mates in the highest regard, and no doubt shared some great times with them. There are clearly many anecdotes and stories of Myles’ antics, of which I could not possibly do justice today. Ask the polo boys (and girls for that matter), they will be delighted to tell you. What is clear is that the energy that Myles put into his water polo was another example, if we needed any more, of how this man lived his life to the very full. Apparently on tour in Spain one year, the team had sent Myles as their representative to the presentation ceremony. Myles knew that the team were boycotting the presentation as they were unhappy with the second place they had achieved. I’m told the second place was a result of the severity of the night before. Myles rocked up to the presentation, sampled the refreshments and took off with the Men’s First Place Lacrosse trophy. This, he had decided, was a sufficient prize for his teams of heroes. No doubt he made the entire team laugh when he returned, decorated with his mischievous grin.
But of course many of his friend’s fondest memories, or rather funniest memories, were when Myles was dressed up, not down, as he was in the swimming pool! We all know Myles enjoyed the fancy dress!! Ed Bunbury and Charlie Lucas, who lived with Myles in third year of University, remember sitting in their living room in the early hours of one morning, playing pro-evo. The Slob was nowhere to be seen. Charlie and Ed turn to each other and said ‘Where’s Robbo?’. Just as they inquired the door started to scratch with the sound of someone attempting to insert their key, and after a difficult assent of the stairs in the house, the Slob was on the same level. Ed and Charlie wait in suspense, which is shattered as Myles puts his head round the door, dressed as a Panda. Any reason you are dressed as a Panda, Robbo? They question. ‘Been to a Panda party obviously!’ Myles retorts, then goes swiftly to bed. Not only had Myles managed to find a Panda party that no-one else seemed to get the invite for, he was almost certainly the best in class in terms of his costume.
Remaining on the theme of his ability to enjoy himself, I think the most famous story of Myles Robinson has to be told. Early in his Newcastle days, whilst Myles was trying to find his way around Castle Leazes, he returned from one evening in the Toon, and in his confusion climbed only three flights of stairs, not four, to find himself in the equivalent room to his, except one floor below. In strides Myles, to the shock of the poor girl who actually inhabited the room, straight over to the sink, where he brushes his teeth with her tooth brush, strips to his underwear and climbs into bed. “You are in the wrong room!” Exclaims the bewildered girl, “ Er… incorrect” retorts the Slob “ You are in the wrong room, please leave.” After an emergency phone call to Charlie Clifton, the Slob is rescued from his misdemeanours and led back to his room on the floor above.
Contrary to these stories however, Myles’ university life was not just about enjoying himself. He worked extremely hard to achieve an excellent 2.1 degree in Economics and Business Management. As I studied a different course I did not attend lectures with him, as many others here did, nor did I reap the benefits of his knowledge and hard work leading up to his exams. Myles was the central beacon of ‘Economics Corner’, an area in the library that was dominated by the Economists. Myles seemed to be the go-to guy in terms of advice and help when it came to Economics revision. It is therefore not surprising that when faced with by far the most gruelling exam timetable, 6 finals, Myles came through with flying colours. Every time I walked over to him in the library, deliberately looking for distraction, I would without fail find Myles surrounded by various combinations of Lovell, Puddle, Hardy, Pritchard, Hibbert, Lawrence, Cummings, Frost, Townley and others, all of them finding the perfect balance between work and distraction. I have to say, the distraction usually prevailed. I remember sitting with Myles, Lovell and Pritch researching Danish football and Danish match fixing laws when we should have been revising. Some of you will know why Myles was so delighted to see FC Copenhagen beat Aalburg on the 3rd of May 2009. As Myles would say, “Come on the cobblers!!”
These are just the a few of the happy memories of Myles, memories that remind us of his day to day charm, and just how much we enjoyed being around him. But often one of the most telling measures of a man is the impression that they leave those they have just met, their first impression, and their ability to warm to others
On this front we must congratulate Myles. Stan Miranda, the CEO of Partners Capital, Myles’ soon to be employer, has been particularly kind in voicing just how much of impression the big man made on him and his company. You will be interested to hear the comments made of Myles, following rigorous interviews. As if we needed confirmation in our own minds of Myles’ qualities, the employees of Partners Capital only needed a short amount of time with Myles to deduce the following
“good guy, very open and honest, keen to learn, plays sport and will get on with everyone in the office, very presentable, polite, wants to work hard, will dive in and do what it takes”.
That is some impression to make in such a short time. But in the short space of time that Myles spent with Partners Capital, they saw one thing above all else, the aspect of Myles’ personality that we all knew, the aspect that is clear from the stories I have told. He was a really really great bloke and people liked to be around him. How fitting that one of the other entries in his Yearbook under ‘things I’m most likely to say’, was ‘Im a really good bloke’.
Before I finish, I feel I should update Myles, to let him know of what has happened since he left us. I’m sure many of you will believe, as I do, that on important days such as this Myles will be watching us, and enjoying the proceedings. This is a message for Myles.
Myles, my friend, I know you can hear me. Allow me to update on what has happened in the six weeks that you have been away from us. The collective effect of all the effort and love that you put in to the relationships with your friends and family has come to light in astonishing fashion. It has become clear that everyone you met received the same level of energy, attention, and affection from you. One of your early school and university friends said of you “Myles gave time to everyone, even those who didn’t deserve it!” How apt that observation is. Personally the only person I can remember you having a bad word for was Gary Neville!
You were a joy to be around for all that you came across. Everyone that speaks of you smiles when they tell stories of you. That is what you did on countless occasions in your incredible life, you made people smile. You attracted people with your magnetic personality, and above all you put in the effort for all of your friends. I will never forget how I fell to the floor laughing when you ran into my 21st dressed as an Ethiopian marathon runner. You made my evening, and the clear effort you put into celebrating my birthday with me was one of the earliest occasions when I knew I had found myself a wonderful friend. I am far from alone in that feeling Myles, without you realizing it, you had become a close friend to a large number of people. But even the people who you met for short periods of time were drawn to you. I have heard from your fellow Wimbledon workmates that you would happily spend an entire day’s wages on a round of drinks for people who you only worked with for a couple of weeks a year. That didn’t matter to you, when in your company those great people were top of your list – enjoying yourself with them is all that you cared about. It is why you were loved, and will continue to be loved. Watch down on us content in the knowledge that every thought, every recollection and every memory of you is accompanied with a broad smile. You will see your many people in this room today. We are all here as at some point in our lives the same thing happened. We met you. We will come together as friends in your absence mate, we will meet with one another and talk of you. We will smile together as we learn of the ways in which you touched of all our lives. You will be delighted and proud to hear that Sophie is learning to play golf. I hear she is getting on ok, and we will all be there to give her a helping hand whenever she needs it.
All I can say to you now mate is that you had an absolute stormer, you took the 23 years given to you and you lived them to very full. You were a wonderful friend, boyfriend, brother and son. I look forward to the day when I next stand on the first tee with you. I hope that you are smiling up there in the knowledge that these last six weeks have only served to magnify how much we all loved you.
We will miss you dearly Myles, but we will always smile when we think of you.
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