THE son of a much-loved businessman has invited people from across the region for lunch to thank them for their support since his dad passed away.
Gus Robinson MBE died on November 15, last year, at the age of 62.
He left behind a lasting legacy in Hartlepool building firm Gus Robinson Developments and the community work he and the company carried out.
His son, Dan Robinson, took over the reins after losing “the best friend he ever had” and vowed to continue his dad’s tireless work.
Now, 12 months on, Dan is delighted with how things have gone, and says the company is looking at an exciting future.
And he wants to say thanks to everyone who has supported the firm and his family during the challenging time, and will in part do that today at the firm’s annual luncheon in the Flagship restaurant at Hartlepool College of Further Education, in Stockton Street.
Dan, 36, said: “It is an appropriate time to do this. It’s not about lamenting the loss of my dad, it’s more to celebrate the achievements of the last year.
“It’s also a chance to recognise and thank the support we have had from partners around the region.
“People have been very supportive to me personally through all the challenges this year.”
The Gus Robinson Foundation has also been founded in the last year to carry on Gus’s community work by supporting young people, and Dan has also thrown himself into his sport-loving dad’s boxing gym.
Dan says his life was “upended” 12 months ago and he has taken on a big responsibility, admitting he has very big shoes to fill.
He is also having to balance his time between Hartlepool and New York, where he has other business interests.
The former jet fighter pilot said: “It’s been a very difficult year personally. My whole life was upended in November last year.
“Dealing with the personal grief while travelling every month between here and the States and trying to manage my personal life has been a challenge.
“It’s been a long 12 months, but at the same time it has gone very quickly.
“Overall I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve in that time.
“We have exceeded expectations this year. We are a profitable company and have picked up a number of awards, while we have some really exciting opportunities coming up”.
Among those are the Mill House development that could see the company help transform part of Hartlepool.
And the firm is also investing in young people through cadetships and scholarships.
Dan added: “We want to keep my dad’s name going, and that’s why we established the Gus Robinson Foundation and have handed out our first cadetships.
“I think the culture that dad created permeates around the organisation. It is second to none.
“But if I am being honest, there is a balance between taking the tremendous work dad did over a long period of time and being my own person and having my own ideas.
“It’s been a challenge and we have more to come, but I am very positive about the future.”