We are very sad to tell you all that Robin Morris, who has been our Treasurer for the last year or two, died on Sunday 4th February, aged 68. Since we have known for a while that he was seriously ill, with a recurrence of his cancer, we were able to recruit Jim Orr, who is an accountant and one of our Trustees, to take over the job of Treasurer, and also of Principal Contact for OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator. So the work will continue and is in good hands.
However, no one can replace Robin as dedicated FOMBL volunteer on Saturday mornings, obsessive litter picker not only on the Meadows but also up and down Morningside, and also enthusiastic runner round the Meadows on Tuesday evenings. Martin Hyman adds: 'In his younger days Robin was a formidable athlete. In athletics circles he was recognized as a driving force in the foundation of "Scottish Hill Runners", a very active organization with a membership well into four figures. From a personal point of view I was one of many folk who recognized Robin as a generous and thoughtful friend.'
Robin was keen to restore or replace the drinking fountain in the east Meadows, and this is very much in line with current campaigns to phase out plastic drinking bottles and restore Victorian fountains. Would such a fountain be a suitable memorial to him?
Robin's role on the Meadows was however only one part of the community work he has done for many years. His own self-portrait, when asked for one (together with the other Trustees) before our last AGM was as follows:
'Happily retired former banker and freelance sports journalist addicted to running and litter picking, indulgent to golf, who has lived very locally for over 50 years using and enjoying the Meadows and Links all that time. Community Councillor for almost 20 years, previous chair of Merchiston CC, on the CEC Licensing Forum, and FOMBL member since their start, former MABLAG [Meadows and Bruntsfield Links Advisory Group] representative very concerned for the upkeep and future there, and now a local charity trustee three-times over.'
He was a trustee of the Eric Liddell Centre, and in the past was treasurer and on the board of the English Speaking Union, Edinburgh Branch. He was also one of the founders of 'Dig-in' (the community greengrocer in Bruntsfield).
Bridget Stevens of Merchiston CC has kindly added some more details about his community work. 'He was Secretary of MCC from 2002 to 2006 and Chair from 2013 to 2017, remaining a member in between. He served on various other Edinburgh committees, such as the South Central Neighbourhood Partnership and the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils. He was a model community activist: a doer not just a talker, and a familiar sight picking up litter around the neighbourhood. He always had his ear to the ground and seemed to know everybody. We used to joke that wherever we were, Robin would discover at least four people he'd been to school with!'
On the question of golf, another keen interest, Jimmy Robertson, the Secretary of the Bruntsfield Short Hole Golf Club, writes: 'While Robin wasn't a member of the BSHGC he was a dear friend of the Club and a champion of the history of Golf on Bruntsfield Links and the preservation of the Short Hole Golf Course. Robin had an infectious enthusiasm in everything he was involved in which I always admired. He always called a spade, a spade.'
Another golfing friend, Ian Hislop, writes:
'Robin was a member at Royal Burgess, Dunbar, Leith Rules, Corstorphine 8.30 Club, Royal Scots Club and the British Golf Collectors Society. He was especially enthusiastic about Hickory Golf and would travel miles for a game. He was an avid collector of all sorts of golf memorabilia. A visit to his house was like stepping into a glorious old clubhouse of the past. Just before Christmas, Robin invited several of his hickory friends to lunch at the Royal Burgess. He was generous to a fault and the perfect host despite his frailty.'
In his mini-cv for FOMBL (above) Robin does not mention his work at Christ Church Morningside, of which Elizabeth Pearson (Pastoral Co-ordinator) has kindly provided a summary. 'Here he has held a number of different positions over the years, as Factor, Area Visitor and Vestry member as well as latterly Peopleís Warden. Robin was more than that, though. He was a warm, caring and friendly presence around the church. He was the person you turned to when help of any kind was needed.
Robin would quietly and unobtrusively carry out helpful tasks like delivering church magazines and mail to peopleís homes if they were unwell and hadnít been to a service for a few weeks, even if these folk were not in his "area". He welcomed people at the church door with a warm handshake or a hug and liked to know where visitors had come from. Robin knew - and was friends with - so many people that no matter where holidaymakers lived, Robin would find some connection. He will be sadly missed.'
There will be a service to celebrate his life in Christ Church, Morningside, on Friday 16th February at 12.30 pm. There will be a wake afterwards in the church hall and then a short committal service at Mortonhall Crematorium at 4pm (the large Chapel). All are welcome. We send our very warmest wishes and sympathy to Rosalind, Robin's widow, and his two daughters.