Robin Stoddart (G 49-53)

Brian Powell (F 50-54) and Malcolm Corrie (G 49-54) kindly provided the following:

“Robin, who sadly died in August 2012, became one of the most respected financial journalists of recent times. He worked for several financial journals and national newspapers before becoming a regular columnist with The Guardian.

Though he lived most of his working life in London, Robin’s roots were in the north of England. He was born in Teesdale and attended local schools there until his family moved across the Pennines to Alston in Cumberland. From there he started at St. Bees, initially on Eaglesfield, then as a member of Grindal. He was made house prefect in his final year. He represented the school as the second XV full-back. In his usual modest and self-deprecating way, he later used to say that due to an eyesight problem he couldn’t always follow the ball and that his rugby career owed more to sheer luck than merit! Robin was a useful fives player and represented Grindal on several occasions. He had significant roles in the school’s dramatic productions, but always stressed that he had no ambitions to become an actor. On the academic side he gained the school prize for history.
He left St. Bees for Durham University to read politics and economics, deferring his studies until his National Service was completed. He greatly enjoyed his time at Durham, socialised a lot and met congenial people, played rugby for his college, tried his hand at rowing and did sufficient studying to emerge with a respectable degree. He was President of the Students’ Union during his final year.

After Durham he worked for various engineering companies in the north-east, initially as a graduate trainee and later as an executive. From there he began to be interested in the world of financial journalism and managed to obtain a post with the Manchester Evening News. This was followed by jobs with the Investors’ Chronicle and the Daily Telegraph. He had a regular column with the Scottish-based firm of D. C. Thompson, publishers of the Sunday Post.

He worked for The Guardian for more than twenty years with his own regular column until retirement. He was proud of his association with The Guardian, particularly because of its independent and liberal reputation. It gave him the scope to put to full use his considerable talent for producing considered and punchily-written articles. That Robin was highly valued is summed up in a letter from the current executive editor and director, Sheila Fitzsimons, who says that he was “a much-loved member of staff and will be greatly missed by his former colleagues.”

In retirement Robin settled in Welwyn Garden City, from where he continued to care for his parents, who had retired to the area. He was able to develop his interest in building up a substantial collection of paintings, furniture and objets d’art. He was always willing to show and discuss any of the items and to share his knowledge.

He was happy also to join us and other OSBs each year for a few days’ walking, especially if it was in the Lake District. He was always up early to explore the local area, taking a keen interest in the bird life. Robin’s instinctive curiosity was a delight. He made two trips to Australia in recent years, staying with Ron Barr (G 48-52) on each occasion.

It was following his return from the latest trip early in February 2012 that he was diagnosed with cancer and given weeks to live. In the event, with great cheerfulness, stoicism and dignity he faced his illness for six more months. During his treatment he heard with great sadness and a sense of poignancy of the death of Ron, with whom he had stayed only a short time previously. His ashes were interred with those of his parents on 3rd August 2012 at St. Dunstan’s church in Monks Risborough, Buckinghamshire.

Robin greatly valued the education he received and, perhaps conscious of the sacrifices his parents had made, he was ever grateful to them and to all at St. Bees. He was a fine example of an Old St. Beghian.”



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