Fondly remembering Mrs Robinson, founder of Walhampton Pre-Prep
|20 Nov 2020|
Thank you to Mark and James Robinson, sons of Andrew and Rachel, have written this obituary for Old Walhamptonians who remember their mother.
Wife of former Walhampton Headteacher, Andrew Robinson
16.06.1932 to 17.10.20
We write to share our sad news that our mother, known to everyone contacted with Walhampton school as Mrs Robinson, passed away peacefully just before the half term holiday. Mrs Robinson was 88 years old and had been living in Lymington for the past 8 years and after our father, Andrew and a former Walhampton headteacher had passed away in 2010. Mum loved living in Lymington, being able to stay in touch with her Walhampton days and particularly in meeting many former pupils, parents and staff members in and around Lymington, often or not in Waitrose which she frequented almost daily! May be you were one of those people she would tell the family about on countless occasions, recounting stories of how the adult she had met had been an “awfully naughty 7 year old many years ago”?!
The Robinsons arrived as a family at Walhampton in 1983 when Dad was appointed as the headteacher to succeed John Bradfield. We moved in the Orangery building as our Headteacher’s House with the Murray Walker family running the younger children’s boarding house which has been the recent Headteacher’s House. Mr Robinson quickly immersed himself in the running of the school which at the time catered for boys and girls between the ages of 7 – 13 years old. In 1985, Mrs Robinson was instrumental in setting up the Walhampton Pre-Prep and began to take children in from 3 years to 7 years old.
Many of the former pupils who mum would tell us about would recount nature walks and happy times in the Pre Prep and particularly Samson, our black Labrador who attended school every day. Mrs Robinson not only taught the children herself but played the piano at daily assembly, playing the children’s favourite “Comes a birthday once again” Birthday song which resulted in Samson bounding through the assembled children to share in the smarties handed out to mark anyone’s birthday.
Our parents were instrumental in many memories from school years and the family were overwhelmed back in 2010 when we held a memorial service for Dad. We received so many cards and letters from former pupils, parents and staff members and we read these with a real sense of pride about the man and the headteacher that Mr Robinson was to you. This service was held in the Walhampton School chapel and with both Mr Mills and the school’s new headteacher, Mr Timms have supported us in our plans that hopefully one day, post Covid times that we will be able to have a Walhampton Chapel Memorial Service for Mrs Robinson. The likely date will not be before the Summer 2021 and we welcome anyone wishing to let us know that they would like to be invited to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your support and best wishes to us all at this time and we know you will join us in acknowledging that we have lost a wonderful lady and to us an exceptional mother and grandmother. The family (two sons and their wives and seven grandchildren) hope to have a last Lymington Christmas this year and hope to walk around Walhampton again, possibly to coincide with the days of another headteacher change at the school. We are actually friends with the Mills’, mainly from playing against Mr Mills on the football fields of his London past.
We hope that both Mr and Mrs Robinson will be remembered with a real fondness by you all but also for the inspiration on your lives that headteachers and teachers are blessed with sharing with so many. We know they have left that legacy with the family, with Mark in his 28th year as Head of Department at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College in Eastleigh and a senior ‘A’ level board examiner. James followed his parents and has been a headteacher in a London state primary school for the past 15 years, now working on the Old Kent Road in Peckham and as well has been an Ofsted inspector for the past six years.
Mum and Dad recognised with real pride that they were blessed to have found Walhampton and we know they would want you all to share in the amazing memories and foundations that the school gave to so many.
We are sorry we were unable to invite anyone to Mrs Robinson’s funeral which was a family only event undertaken in the half term in the village in Derbyshire where our parents moved to after leaving Walhampton in 1997. Many people have asked which charities mum would have supported if you wished to donate in her name and we would recommend these three areas of life which summed her up:
RSPCA - Mrs Robinson’s real passion was the natural world and particularly the birdlife that surrounds us and to whom she dedicated a garden wherever she lived.
New Forest Basics - Mrs Robinson had a real heart for the problems of homelessness and this Lymington based charity provides food parcels for the desperately poor in the area.
The British Heart Foundation – Mrs Robinson would want to support the research that the BHF does to fund more ground-breaking research which will help save and improve the lives of other families and their loved ones.
Our best wishes are sent to whole Walhampton family and hopefully we will see many of you in Lymington in years to come or at a memorial service for mum if current situations allow.
Mark and James Robinson, Mr and Mrs Robinson’s sons
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