Retired Penrith butcher andmotorsport enthusiast

Date: Friday 1st May 2020
John Robinso
John Robinso

JOHN Robinson, who was well known for running a butcher’s shop in Penrith’s Angel Lane until 1985, passed away peacefully from natural causes at Burnrigg Court residential care home in Carlisle on Sunday morning, 26th April. He was 97.

Eldest son of Robert and Amy Robinson, also of Penrith, John started in the family butchery business aged 16 driving a travelling shop around the lakes — “a great time to be out galivanting”, as he would put it. He was called up into the Royal Navy during the Second World War, where he served in Sri Lanka, as an electrical engineer servicing ships and submarines. After the war he returned to the family business and went to college at Smithfields in London, qualifying as a Master Butcher. His Cumberland sausage was a speciality and even featured on Look North.

He always liked to be busy, whether as a keen gardener, DIY, sailing or indulging a life-long passion for motoring and sports cars. Aged just 26, he rebodied and styled an early Aston Martin which remains to this day in the shape he created — a complete one-off. He was lucky to own some special cars from the 50s to the 80s, including an Aston Martin racing car (famously called Red Dragon) and a 1954 Ferrari Mondial, now rare collectors’ items. He took both to races and hill climbs and while an active member of various sports car clubs, was also successful in rallying and concours events.

He had a good eye for art and antiques and was an avid collector of fine art, jade, clocks and furniture. Also a skilled craftsmen and cabinet maker, he made his own longcase clocks and furniture in retirement.

As a long-standing member of Penrith Golf Club, with a nine handicap in his prime, he was Club Captain in the ‘70s. Latterly in retirement he enjoyed playing with Dad’s Army and golfing holidays with other club members. Given his wide interests, he could strike up a conversation with anyone and normally find common interests within minutes.

He was a committed family man, and leaves a son Mike and daughter Angela, with five grandchildren. He was married to his devoted wife Dorothy who died in 1999 after 42 years together.