No. 196

OSB Logo The Old St Beghian
  January 2020


Charmian Robson (Staff 86-99) 

The Robson family have provided the following:

Former St Bees School teacher, Charm Robson, died in September 2019 aged 79. Charm taught art history between 1989 and 1999 and inspired her pupils to expand their interest and knowledge in the arts. Her memorial service took place in St Bees Priory Church on Sunday, 29 September, followed by afternoon tea in the school’s Memorial Hall, with many past teachers and pupils in attendance.

As part of the service John Mellor read a letter written by his son Rob (SH 95-98) to Charm during her illness ‘I didn’t actually intend to study Art History, deeming it a subject that usually girls studied, and, in a typically public school environment, I didn’t plan on bucking the trend! However, being something of the listless sort, I fell into your art history class and sat rather scruffily at the back. Your introduction and two years of teaching of the subject stirred far more in me than perhaps I realised then. As we poured through cathedrals, churches, castles, paintings, sculpture and crafts, I felt a resolutely closed artistic eye opening. I had completely buried any appreciation of art and culture from a young age and I’ve no doubt that, without your guidance, it would have remained buried. As I increasingly used what we had all learned and studied in that dusty room in Foundation, I realised I was looking at the world in a whole new way and much of it made a great deal more sense. Not only did I keep it as part of my degree, I used art history in my training at drama school and constantly use it as an actor. I firmly believe artistic expression is an opening of the soul and it is you I credit with prizing that open. I suspect, without that, I would be poorer indeed. So, thank you. It seems important to show the gratitude I owe you for the introduction to a subject that completely changed my life.’

Charm also assisted husband Chris (M 68-04) as house parents at Abbots Court between 1986 and 1994 and has many fond memories of the boys and staff on the house. Chris has taken much comfort from the numerous letters and cards from the village, St Bees School connections and their wide friendship circle.
Ahead of her time in advocating fair trade, Charm was Traidcraft’s first representative selling ethically sourced goods from around the world. She managed the St Bees annual charity sale, which is still going strong today, for more than three decades. 

Abbots Court Cross England Relay 1989
Abbots Court Cross England Relay 1989
Charm was also an avid charity fundraiser and began supporting the RNLI in the 1970s and more recently the Mines Advisory Group, which clears landmines in war-torn countries, as well as opening her delightfully wild garden as part of the National Garden Scheme, set up to raise money for numerous good causes.
Charm and Chris Robson Running 2012
Chris and Charm Robson Running 2012

She was a Lay Reader at St Bees Priory Church for more than thirty years, where her Christian witness was highly valued. She supported several former school vicars and theology teachers, including Reverend Canon Trevor Park (M 70-76) and Reverend Phillip Bryan (M 77-06).

Having taken up running later in life, she went on to win numerous Lakeland Trails age-group prizes, complete many half and full marathons in the UK and abroad as well as achieving a national ‘best for age’ ranking. Charm was a keen member of the St Bees Triers running club and became an inspiration to other runners and a key part of the local running community. She completed the London Marathon in 2012 with Chris as part of their Golden Wedding celebrations, raising funds for Alzheimer’s Research and even appearing on Good Morning Britain. Her last races took place in the Azores in September 2018, running 50km over four days.

Charm and Chris had five children during their long and happy marriage;
Sam (G 79-81), Anya (G 81-83), Timon (FN 79-86), Steve (FN 81-83) and Rezwana (L 82-89). She had frequent visitors during her short illness and passed away peacefully at home with her family by her side. Donations in her memory to the St Bees Priory Organ Restoration Fund and West Cumbria Hospice at Home topped more than £4,000, with gift aid.

Further Photos may be seen by clicking here.




The St Beghian Society    
St Bees School,    St Bees,    Cumbria,    CA27 0DS

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