The world of Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling is in mourning following the death of Roger Robson, from Ivegill, at the age of 78.
Roger had battled with a long-standing illness for 25 years.
He died peacefully at home.
President of the Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Association, Chris Bland, said: “Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling has lost a real stalwart. Roger was steeped in the sport with a father and uncles who all competed.
“As a competitor himself, he was a true gentleman, always taking a fair hold and never seeking to gain an unfair advantage.
“In his newspaper reports he frequently referred to people who were putting something back into the sport, but no one put more back than Roger Robson.”
Roger wrote a weekly Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling report for the Cumberland News from the 1970s for 41 years.
As an English teacher with a complete knowledge of the sport, he was ideally suited to the role.
Roger was a competitor from a young age, was member of the CWWA governing board from 1975 and held several roles, including president, from 2005-09, being re-elected for a second term in 2011.
Born the son of a mole-catcher in a family of hill-farmers, he was brought up in Alnwick, Northumberland.
From his father teaching him as a child the basics of a family tradition, and his first win at Rochester show in the under-11s, Roger stayed involved with Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling for nearly 70 years.
Although he never held a championship title, he won the Grasmere Guinness trophy for best performance in 1964, when he won the 12 stones event. He was also a Grasmere champion at 12 stones in 1970 and 1980.
He became the first in his family to attend university, gaining a degree in English literature at Durham, and it was there he met Jill, his wife of more than 55 years.
He spent the first five years of his career at a private school in County Durham.
He left partly out of a desire to work in state education, moving to Cumbria in 1970 and joining the English department at Trinity School, Carlisle.
Jill was also a teacher, head of girls PE at the city’s Newman School.
After two years, Roger made the short journey to St Aidan’s as head of English, and stayed there until 1993.
He took early retirement at 51 years of age, devoting more time to his farming of Belted Galloway cattle and sheep.
His love of Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling was passed on to his children and grandchildren.
Roger was very proud of granddaughter Gemma when she won the ladies open competition at Grasmere in 2019.
From all over the country, tributes have flooded in to the CWWA Facebook page.
From wrestling contacts, authors, former pupils, colleagues and friends. One comment read: “Didn’t like school too much. But the lessons I had with Mr Robson (a gentleman) I still remember. RIP Sir.”
Tributes also came from members of the International Federation of Celtic Wrestling (IFCW). Roger was instrumental in forging links with other wrestling organisations, especially the Bretons, which led to the formation of the IFCW.
“We have lost a great wrestling advocate, historian, mentor and friend. Roger had time for everyone and enriched the lives of many. He will be a huge miss but will forever remain in our hearts and our memories,” said Mr Bland.
“He will be sorely missed and we give thanks for all that he has contributed to our sport during a lifetime of involvement. Thank you, Roger and Jill.”
Roger is survived by his wife Jill, children Heather, Simon and Catherine, and six grandchildren.