THE mum of late businessman Gus Robinson MBE paid an emotional tribute to her son after a poignant memorial tree-planting service.
She thanked everyone for helping the family cope with the devastating loss of the respected businessman and boxing promoter who built up his family firm in Hartlepool.
Council bosses in neighbouring Peterlee paid a lasting tribute to the family man who had long-established links with their community.
As well as building houses in Peterlee, Gus, who died last November aged 62, had strong links with the town through boxing circles and was also a former chairman of the East Durham Development Agency.
A flowering cherry blossom tree was planted in the grounds of Peterlee Town Council’s headquarters, at Shotton Hall.
Members of Gus’s family attended the touching service and his mum, Egizia, who lives in Peterlee, helped to plant the sapling.
Other family members at the ceremony included his wife Judith, daughter Adele Robinson, granddaughter Amelia Boyd, and his sisters Maria Robinson and Egizia Crabbe, as well as staff from Gus Robinson Developments.
Civic officials, including the Mayor of Peterlee, Councillor John Hardy, and town council leader, Councillor Bill Jeffrey, also attended the service.
It also saw the unveiling of a plaque which describes Gus as an “inspirational local businessman”.
His mum, Egizia Robinson, said: “After the loss of my dearest son Gus, I felt motivated to arrange a lasting symbol that would celebrate the many and far reaching achievements of his life and commemorate the gift of his love and presence in our lives.
“The cherry tree planting and commemorative plaque, which is so beautifully positioned on the grounds near the main entrance of Shotton Hall, were made possible by the speedy and sensitive response from Peterlee Town Council, namely council leader Bill Jeffrey, Mayor John Hardy and councillor Barbara Sloan.
“Sadly, Barbara passed away during the early hours of Friday morning and we would like to extend our condolences as a family to her family and loved ones.
“While making the arrangements for the planting of the cherry tree, I found myself thinking of the many families who endure the loss of a loved one and my heart goes out to them.
“However, it has been through these sad times that I have been made acutely aware of the love and support that exists within our family. I use the word family in a broader sense to acknowledge the immense and heartening support of all of our respective friends, neighbours, colleagues and people from our individual wider communities, as it is through such emotionally demanding times in one’s life that true friendship care and love manifest.
“I want to sincerely thank everyone who has been by our sides, because their help was immeasurably significant in our coming to terms with the loss of Gus.
“Gus was a sweet man, a strong man and my pride and joy.”
In the wake of Gus’s death, Mayor Hardy and Coun Jeffrey visited Mrs Robinson and she suggested that a tree could be planted in the council grounds in his memory.
Mayor Hardy said: “Gus served the community well and he was very popular and well-respected in Peterlee and it was an honour for me to be involved in such a ceremony.
“It was a pleasure to be able to plant this beautiful tree and to do this for Mrs Robinson and her family.”
Coun Jeffrey, who had known Gus for more than 30 years through the construction sector, said: “He was a good friend of mine and he supported the town well.
“He also supported the council and we had some happy times together.”