Friends and admirers say farewell to Brighton and Hove historian

Posted On 22 Jan 2011 at 1:17 am

More than 200 mourners paid their last respects to local historian and tour guide Michael Robins yesterday (Friday 21 January).

The funeral of Mr Robins, 64, of Brunswick Terrace, Hove, was held at St Andrew’s Church in Waterloo Street, Hove.

Mr Robins is credited with saving and guiding the restoration of St Andrew’s, an architectural gem which had become derelict.

He became its first custodian after it re-opened.

The mourners included the deputy mayor Councillor Ann Norman, her husband Councillor Ken Norman, Councillor Averil Older, Councillor David Watkins and Councillor Paul Elgood.

Also in attendance were members of the Hove Civic Society, the Montpelier and Clifton Hill Association, the Regency Society committee, Save Hove and the East Brunswick Residents’ Association.

Valerie Paynter, of Save Hove, said: “It is a measure of the man that (they) were in attendance.

“Before Michael Robins made of it a personal project, it (St Andrew’s) was derelict and used for raves and squatting.

“This Grade I (listed building) is in the state it is now largely because of Michael Robins.”

Eulogies from Councillor Elgood, who represents Brunswick and Adelaide on Brighton and Hove City Council, and local residents Meg Stone and Martin Smith reflected Mr Robins’s life, humour and contribution to the community.

Ms Stone said: “Mike was very loved by many and will be sadly missed.”

Mr Smith called Mr Robins his “mentor” and Councillor Elgood called for a permanent memorial to mark Mr Robins’s life to be sited in Brunswick Town.

The deputy mayor, Councillor Ann Norman, said: “I will remember all of my encounters with Mike which were filled with fun and laughter as Mike was such a splendid host and always arrived with a posy of flowers for me.

“He was so knowledgeable, particularly about the local Brunswick scene, and seemed to know everyone that he met, and as a tour guide could not be matched by anyone else that I know for information about the area he was describing.

“I fully support the suggestion of some form of permanent memorial for Mike as suggested by my colleague Councillor Paul Elgood.

“Ken (Councillor Ken Norman) and I accompanied Mike on his final journey to the Downs Crematorium but will always remember him as a joyful person who contributed so much to the community he loved.”

Apart from being well known in the Brunswick community, Mr Robins is pictured on the side of a Brighton and Hove Buses bus.

He died on Monday 10 January at the Martlets Hospice in Wayfield Avenue, Hove.

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