Tributes paid to Olympic cyclist ‘Des’

Des and Beryl celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary two years ago.
Des and Beryl celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary two years ago.

A former Olympic cyclist and “true gentleman” passed away surrounded by his family.

Mirfield man Desmond Robinson died peacefully aged 87 on December 10, leaving his wife of 62 years Beryl, daughters Linda, Denise and Jane and five grandchildren. He had suffered a stroke in May and later developed a chest infection.

Daughter Denise Edwards, 56, said: “He was a lovely man, he was a true gentleman. He loved his family, he would do anything for his family and his girls. He had a really full and interesting life.”

Born in Ravensthorpe on December 30, 1927, Des attended the former St Saviour’s Church and school and later went to Victoria Central School. After an apprenticeship at Hopkinsons inHuddersfield, he then worked at his father’s joinery firm HF Robinson and Sons.

His cycling career began in 1945, when he joined Huddersfield Road Club. Highlights included winning the Manx TT in 1949 and competing in the road race at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, alongside his brother Brian in 1952. In 1955 he also triumphed at the amateur Tour of Britain.

Desmond, of the Maltings in Mirfield, married Beryl at Christ the King Church in 1953 after which the newly-weds built their own house and furniture. The couple met when Beryl was a 17-year-old dispenser at Norman Brooks chemist in Mirfield in 1950.

First daughter Linda was born in 1954, followed by Denise in 1958 and Jane in 1964.

But Des’s passion for cycling remained and he developed Circuit Training devised by Carnegie in Leeds, led evening rides with young club members and remained with the Ravensthorpe Cycling Club until the age of 62.

His funeral takes place at Christ the King Church, Stocksbank, Mirfield, at 11.30am on December 23.