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Obituary: Top civil servant who loved acting, walking and singing

Robert Robinson, a retired senior civil servant who has died at 76, was a man of many talents.

That's how he was described by his minister, the Rev Purvis Campbell, at Belmont Presbyterian Church in Belfast where Robert and his wife Maureen were both elders and where a thanksgiving service was held in his memory today.

"He was a superb amateur actor," says his friend, ex-teacher Raymond Harbison.

Robert retired from the Department of Finance and Personnel in 1995 as a Principal after nearly 40 years' service.

Robert was a prominent member of a walking club and a regular at Probis and he and Maureen, to whom he was married for 42 years, were regular travellers. They were introduced by Rosemary Drummond who later married Robert's friend Robert Harbinson, his best man at Glendermott Presbyterian Church, Londonderry, in 1972.

Robert was dedicated to church life and up until he fell ill was involved deeply in the restoration plans for the historic Belmont church. Down the years he and his family had connections too with Orangefield Presbyterian congregation.

For many years he and Maureen were members of their church choir and of King's Chorale where he sang bass and was an ever-present at the Chorale's concerts. Robert, an old boy of Banbridge Academy, was a native of Enniskillen where his father George was a Great Northern Railway man. The family later moved to Belleek and Ballyronan.

"He inherited his father's love of trains and made frequent visits back to Ballyronan where he grew up," says Maureen. "He also loved vintage cars and was a regular at motor rallies."

Robert is survived by Maureen and their two sons, Paul, who is a solicitor in London, and Stephen, who is an accountant in Florida, along with grandchildren James, Ben and Oliver and Robert's widowed sister Helen Patterson.

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