A YOUNG artist who was inspired to fulfil her potential by a much-missed town businessman has put her talents to good use in a poignant tribute in his memory.
Talented Charmaine Twidale, 17, presented her impressive framed painting of Gus Robinson MBE to his proud son Dan on the eve of the anniversary of his death.
Gus sadly passed away two years ago today, aged 62, following a private battle with depression.
But despite his illness, Gus was a real driving force when it came to inspiring young people in the community.
And Charmaine, whose parents Charlene and Chris Twidale set up Central Correctors youth project five years ago, was one of those to be encouraged by Gus.
“Gus came for an Easter party when we first opened and came to all of them after that,” said Charmaine, who lives on Hartlepool’s Central Estate.
“He used to talk to us all and encourage us in what we wanted to do.
“I saw him give a talk at the FE College once when he brought in a girl who had become a sailor, he was really proud of her.”
Charmaine is on the Arts Committee at Hartlepool Arts Gallery and is currently studying for her A-levels, and has applied to a number of universities to study fine art.
And Gus’s input was crucial.
“Gus used to talk a lot about our ambitions and now mine is to be an artist,” added Charmaine, who helps out at the Central Correctors project at the Phoenix Centre.
Proud mam Charlene said: “We wanted to have something to remember Gus by and we are delighted with Charmaine’s picture.
“Gus was very community orientated, and loved coming to see the kids.
“He couldn’t help himself buying them sweets, so it was funny to see Dan walk through the door with a big pile of sweets for all of the children.”
Dan took over the reins of Gus Robinson Developments after losing “the best friend he ever had” and has since continued his dad’s tireless work.
After he was handed the framed picture, he said: “I’m genuinely touched by this extraordinary piece of work by Charmaine.
“My dad was a huge supporter of the Central Correctors youth project and I’m delighted to be able to continue that support.
“It’s humbling to see the time and effort that this team put into providing a wonderful environment for local kids.
“For them to acknowledge the role that my dad played in helping them is a wonderful gesture and I sincerely appreciate it.
“Two years on, I know he would be delighted to see the progress they continue to make.”