Robin Thomas (1951 – 1958)
Older Old Boys will be saddened to hear of the passing of Robin Thomas after a short illness. Robin was a truly outstanding sportsman at school. He started playing for the 1st X1 at cricket when only in his second year at Q.E.H. and for the 1st XV in rugby when only in his third year. Both of these achievements probably stand as records to this day.
As a cricketer he was a stylish bat with nearly all the strokes, his off drive being particularly graceful. He also kept wicket for the 1st X1 once he reached the 5th and 6th Forms. He played cricket for The Old Elizabethans for a short time after leaving school and distinguished himself by scoring a century in his first game for them. Later he played regularly for Winsley Cricket Club and was for many seasons their leading run scorer.
In rugby Robin, although small in stature, was a nimble, brave and sure footed scrum half. The legendary Physical Education Master Ron Tandy was once heard to remark that ‘they’d squash Thomas if they could catch him, but that’s just not that easy…’. Whilst at school he also was picked for The Bristol Public and Grammar School’s XV representative team on several occasions.
Another, perhaps lesser recorded of Robin’s achievements, was that he could do one of the best impersonations of the then Deputy Headmaster of the school ‘Alf’ Richardson. Robin liked to recount the time he arrived five minutes late for Alf’s chemistry class, to be admonished by Alf in a not unfriendly manner (he liked Robin)..’UUUhhh Thomas’ (all inpersonations of Alf began with a sound like ‘uuuhhh’), ‘do you realise you’re five minutes late for the lesson?’….to which Robin retorted ‘Why, sir, what happened?!’
Alf’s science lessons obviously paid dividends, as on leaving Q.E.H. Robin attended ‘The College of Rubber Technology’ in London for three years. In those days this was a free standing institution but nowadays would have been amalgamated or integrated into a University. On leaving, he was offered a prestigious apprenticeship with The Avon Rubber Company, based in Melksham. Robin’s business life was a real ‘shop floor to board room’ tale. He worked his way steadily up through the Company over the years to eventually becoming a Managing Director….a journey that took most of forty years. During this time his work took him frequently abroad. His family settled in the Bradford-On-Avon and Trowbridge area and he and his wife Judy loved to entertain their many friends and Robin became a (self professed!) expert at barbecue…
Robin was a season ticket holder at Bath Rugby, never missing a game for many years.
I first knew Robin when, before Q.E.H., we started at Stoke Bishop Primary School together when we were five years old. He was a loyal and staunch friend to me and knowing him has added enormously to my own life.
He was married for fifty years and our condolences go to his wife Judy and their two son’s James and Andrew, their four grandchildren and Robin’s sister Lizzie.