|30 Oct 2020|
|Passing of friends|
Michael Robottom (1958W) | 1942 - 2020
Mike Robottom (1958W), who passed away Monday evening 26 October after a heart attack, was a long-time and loyal friend of mine – and of our Class of ’60 colleagues. “Long-time” because we were at pre-school together before starting at Bishops Prep in 1951 and “loyal” because we maintained our friendship with regular calls between his home in Jersey, CI, and mine in Cape Town, along with visits. He was also a regular participant in our Class of ’60 re-unions over many decades.
Mike had an interesting career coupled with an excellent sense of humour, much care for his family and friends and a long-time affection for Bishops: after completing Standard 8 in December 1958, his new step-father took him and his mother to England aboard the Arundel Castle bound for Southampton. (“Ship’s last voyage before being scrapped. Brokedown in the Bay of Biscay. Wasn’t my fault,” he used to joke).
After completing his schooling at Victoria College on Jersey, he embarked on an engineering apprenticeship at Rolls Royce, the aircraft engine manufacturer, and then a three-year partnership with a manufacturer’s agent in Cardiff, returning to aviation with the British Aircraft Corporation, Weybridge in 1967. Despite his being on a meteoric career path there (he had the use of a helicopter to get around) he left in 1974 to return to Jersey to take over the family property investment business, which kept him busy for the rest of his life.
Two other interests kept him very busy: racing historic cars (track and hill climbs) with his son Charles and daughter Jane (and his dear wife Janet) over many years, along with maintaining a collection of classic cars that were the envy of many; and tennis, not just playing the game. He was for a time president of the Channel Islands Lawn Tennis Association which lead to being a board member of the English LTA, involved with the annual Wimbledon tournament and chairing the Women’s Tennis Association championship in Brighton. It also leads to a highlight in my life when he hosted me, my wife and our young children to a day at the Wimbledon championships on centre court.
He also never lost interest in the welfare of Bishops, following the school news carefully and maintaining contact with several of his classmates (his mother, Doreen, an amateur artist, did many sketches of iconic architecture at the College). His memories of life at Bishops: cold showers and Lifebuoy soap; membership of the choir, led by the renowned Claude Brown; and teaching less-privileged pupils at night-school, the programme managed by Wilkie.
Janet and Mike travelled widely, too, often to attend classic car events, races and to search out something special for his collection.
In recent times, his focus has shifted to his grandchildren, the oldest (rugby-mad) grandson Jack at Exeter University and younger brother Ben studying for his “A” Levels (their Mom Jane, a physiotherapist, and Dad Iain, a marketing consultant, live in Surrey), at the same time, enjoying closer contact with their ten-year-old granddaughter Matilda who lives in Jersey, where her Dad Charles is a chiropractor and mother Andrea is an HR consultant.
He missed our early-2020 class reunion, mainly due to health issues (“a walking advertisement for spare parts” was his comment) but retained his enthusiasm for life and for what made him “tick”: his family, his faith, his sense of humour and always looking forward, he emphasised.
RIP Mike (August 1942 – October 2020)
Alan T. Ramsay (1960F).