THE proud son of Gus Robinson MBE left a packed church in tears as he gave a touching goodbye to his “inspirational” dad.
Hundreds of people gathered in St Joseph’s RC Church to pay their respects to the much-loved Hartlepool husband, dad, granddad, businessman and boxing promoter.
Daniel Robinson spoke for an emotional half hour about his father’s life, courage and leadership and was greeted with spontaneous applause as he finished with moving messages to his dad, family and friends.
Gus, 62, was found dead on Tuesday, November 15, at his home in the West Park area of town.
Daniel told the congregation: “Gus Robinson was my father, my mentor and my friend. Dad, you taught me to be truly fearless in life and to always stick up for the underdog. You were my inspiration.
“If he was that for me at just 35, I can only imagine how much richer he is to others in this world.
“Often with dad, there would only be one set of footprints in the sand because in one sense or another he carried all of us.
“He set an example to others and made us all better people.
“I loved my father and he shaped my life in ways I will carry with me forever.”
Despite Gus’s business success, he was carried into the Hutton Avenue church for a requiem mass in a humble coffin of cardboard appearance, which is thought to have been chosen due to Gus’s passion for sustainability.
Town dignitaries, including Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond and the chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council, Councillor Carl Richardson, along with former Easington MP John Cummins, were present at the church that had to have loudspeakers set up outside as there was not enough space for everyone inside.
The boxing fraternity was represented by a host of faces, including former ABA champ and Gus Robinson pro Alan Temple, ex-British champion George Feeney and ex-Commonwealth champ Stewart Lithgo.
Gus’s former coach, George Bowes, was also present, along with current coach Peter Cope and his boxing son Peter junior.
Gus Robinson boxer Nigel Wright paid his respects just days before he is due to fight champion Ashley Theophane for the Londoner’s light-welterweight belt at Peterlee Leisure Centre on Saturday, December 10.
The church was also full of Gus Robinson Developments workers, who were so important to Gus that they were invited to sit just behind the family in the church.
Daniel added: “I’m certain that the company will continue to go from strength to strength and will continue to support this town.
“Boxing will continue to be an important part of the company and we are all excited about Nigel Wright’s title fight, and dad would have wanted to tell you tickets are still available!
“Dad won’t be there, but he will be in spirit.”
Father Michael Griffiths said people will have an assortment of memories about Gus and they may struggle to understand why he has gone.
But he added: “My mum’s sister, aunty Bess, had to give up knitting so took up tapestry.
“While she was making them, we weren’t allowed to look at the front, just the back. It looked a mess. all knots and loose ends.
“Then one day we were given a look around the front and there was a picture, a harmony of colour and shapes that made sense. In fact it was beautiful.
“In our life too can feel like a jumble and a mess, things don’t make sense and questions go unanswered.
“In our struggle and in our confusion we look to God for sense. These are the trials through which we triumph, and one day we too will get to see the picture.”