Belfast Telegraph

Statue honours war hero who became Northern Ireland's 'Mr Coca-Cola'

At the unveiling of the statue of Terence Robinson were (from left) Tim Robinson, Paul Porter, Matthieu Seguin of Coca-Cola and Lisburn and Castlereagh mayor Uel Mackin
At the unveiling of the statue of Terence Robinson were (from left) Tim Robinson, Paul Porter, Matthieu Seguin of Coca-Cola and Lisburn and Castlereagh mayor Uel Mackin
Terence Robinson
Alf McCreary

By Alf McCreary

A life-size statue of the late Terence Robinson, known as the 'Mr Coca-Cola of Northern Ireland', has been unveiled in Lambeg to mark the 80th anniversary year of the franchise's arrival from the US in 1939.

The impressive statue by Ulster sculptor Darren Sutton was funded by the Robinson family and the soft drinks giant.

Yesterday's unveiling by councillor Paul Porter, chairman of the leisure and community development committee of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, took place in the Tom Robinson Park, named after Terence's father.

It is situated near the site where the company had a plant for many years before moving to its present site at Knockmore.

Mayor Uel Mackin said: "I had the pleasure of meeting Terence when I worked in the soft drinks industry and he was a true gentleman. It is an honour for the council to have this statue of the Mr Coca-Cola of Northern Ireland in this park so close to the former plant in Lambeg."

Members of Terence's family were present, including his daughters Bobi and Linda and his son Tim, as well as senior management of Coca-Cola and others from the company who had worked with Mr Robinson in his earlier days.

Tim Robinson thanked his grandfather "who had the vision and courage in 1939 to risk everything, mortgaging his home and borrowing from family and friends to begin selling the then unknown product Coca-Cola in Northern Ireland".

He also praised his father Terence "for bringing us all on his Coca-Cola journey and teaching us to have passion in what we do, loyalty to the people beside us, and belief that hard work will allow us to achieve our goals, whatever they might be".

Terence Robinson was a popular and larger-than-life character who worked tirelessly to promote Coca-Cola and contributed significantly to community life and charities in Northern Ireland.

He was also a war hero who was honoured for saving the life of a shipmate who had fell overboard from a Navy vessel in icy seas during the Second World War. On his return from active service, Mr Robinson devoted his life to the business, and he was still associated with the company in his 90s.

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