TRIBUTES from across the political divide have been made after a leading Chester councillor died of heart failure yesterday, aged 67.
David Robinson, a political heavyweight in the city for 30 years, once narrowly failed to become Chester’s MP, losing out to Tory television personality Gyles Brandreth by just 1,101 votes.
It was Labour councillor Robinson’s second General Election defeat and later that year, 1992, he suffered a heart attack while playing cricket, his recreational passion along with cycling.
He recovered over time and served as Cheshire county councillor for Overleigh division, again narrowly losing out in 2005 to Conservative Stephen Mosley who went on to become Chester MP five years later.
Cllr Robinson also stood as Chester’s Labour parliamentary candidate in 1987, losing to long-serving Conservative Sir Peter Morrison by 4,855 votes.
For the most part, however, Cllr Robinson was a successful election machine in various parts of the city, starting off as a city councillor in Blacon, moving over to Overleigh (Curzon Park, Handbridge, Lache, Queen’s Park and Westminster Park) and finally representing Boughton, where he lived in King’s Crescent West, on Cheshire West and Chester Council serving as the opposition environment spokesman.
Highways and the environment were his passions, as were his election number-crunching skills.
Cllr Robinson, who had a pacemaker for more than 20 years, recently underwent an operation at Broadgreen Hospital in Liverpool and had also been treated at the Countess of Chester Hospital as well as resting at home.
A Cestrian born within the City Walls, Cllr Robinson leaves his wife Monica and grown-up children George and Alice. He taught at schools including Queen’s Park High in Chester and Tarporley High.
He shared a love of cycling with his wife and was committed to developing opportunities to cycle across the city. He was a member of Chester Cycling Campaign and Chester and North Wales Cyclists’ Touring Club.
A former chairman and North West elected councillor for the Cyclists’ Touring Club, Cllr Robinson was a member of the CWaC steering group for the Chester Cycling Demonstration Town.
He had a special interest in environmental issues, waste management and land use planning. For eight years he was chairman of the Cheshire, Warrington and Halton WREN panel for the landfill tax communities fund.
In recent years Cllr Robinson helped residents with the £70,000 upgrading of the Neville Road Play area in Boughton, forming a new ‘Friends of’ group.
He was passionate about cricket and loved to watch his son play at Boughton Hall Cricket Club where he was a vice-president.
John Creswick, secretary of Chester Labour Party, said: “I’ve been a friend and colleague of David’s for 35 years so his passing leaves me in a state of shock.
“Like all who knew David, I was in awe of his energy, drive, determination, political skill.
“Canvassing to get him elected in 2011, I remember it was difficult to find anyone in Boughton who didn’t know David.
“He will be sorely missed.”
CWaC Labour group leader Cllr Justin Madders said yesterday: “David worked so hard over many years. He was hugely respected by the whole community. His legacy is there for all of us to see.
“Politically, he had tremendous experience which was an invaluable source of help and wisdom for us all. As Labour group leader, I’ve had fantastic support from him – and enjoyed his company as well.
“We had a shared passion for sport and politics. The passion David showed for everything he did is an example for us all.
“He never wasted a minute and always threw himself into things he believed in completely with the kind of commitment and dedication few people could match. It was a privilege to know him.”
Chester MP Stephen Mosley said: “David was a long-standing figure in Chester politics, known and admired by all parties for his work and passion for the people of the city.
“In his years on Chester City Council, Cheshire County Council and latterly on Cheshire West and Chester Council, he was always among the first to stand up and be heard.
“I long ago learnt what we’re all remembering today: the great character of a man who will be missed by all who knew him.”