HUNDREDS said their farewells to an inspirational and courageous campaigner who made it her mission to make sure those battling breast cancer had the best possible care.
Cherry Robinson was laid to rest at a private family service at Worcester Crematorium today followed by a an open service of thanksgiving at St Mary’s Church in Kempsey.
The church was full to capacity with around 250 attending the service to celebrate the life of the 69-year-old who died peacefully at her home in Osier Close, Worcester, on October 15 with her husband, Doug, at her side following a five-year battle against secondary cancers.
It was one of Mrs Robinson’s dying wishes that people should wear pink for the service, a symbol of the fight against breast cancer. Family and friends obliged, wearing pink ties, scarves, coats, dresses, cardigans, jackets and ribbons.
A framed photograph of Mrs Robinson was on display at the front of the church with two candles burning. The reader, Sheila Cook, described Mrs Robinson as someone who worked tirelessly on behalf of the Worcester Breast Cancer Support Group after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, a group she came to chair herself in 2007, and a person “dedicated to serving others in so many ways”.
She was also a vigorous campaigner for the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign which seeks to create a breast care unit at 220 Newtown Road. Sadly, she never lived long enough to see it open to patients. Mrs Robinson was known for making lists and had chosen the hymns for her own funeral. The reader told the congregation with a smile that she had been “given her instructions” by Mrs Robinson, described as the youngest and bossiest of three sisters, the others being Jill Ebbs and Carole Blair.
When Mrs Robinson became aware she was dying she packed as much as she possibly could into the remaining time, buying a caravan which is something she had always wanted to do.
She said: “Cherry used all the talents God gave her. She was a warm and feeling person. She was an inspiration - courageous, enthusiastic, loyal and loving. She will be very greatly missed by her family. But she has left a wealth of happy memories to those who knew and loved her.” She was well known for her cake-making and decorating skills and famous for her scones which were always in great demand. She was also nominated as tea lady of the year at Trent Bridge and worked as a care assistant at Orchard House nursing home and a physiotherapist’s assistant at Castle Street.
A poem called Together, written by Mrs Robinson, which we here print below in full, was also read out by her granddaughters, Becci Parkins and Laura Rhodes.
Among those to attend the service were breast surgeon Steven Thrush who first devised the idea for the breast unit and breast cancer survivor Susie Coleman and Carole Crowe, the former campaign co-ordinator, who both appeared alongside Mrs Robinson in the fund-raising calendar for the launch in October 2009.
Angela Brinton, the widow of the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Michael Brinton, attende as a lead patron of the campaign and on behalf of the other lead patron, Professor David Green, vice-chairman and chief executive of the University of Worcester. Donations were made to the Worcester Breast Cancer Support Group and the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign. People were also invited to celebrate Mrs Robinson’s life at The Graeme Hick Suite at Worcestershire County Cricket Ground in New Road after the service.
If I should go before you
(and ‘go’ as you know, means ‘die’)
Don’t tarnish your pain with whisky
and try not to ask him WHY
You’re too strong willed a man to be beaten
and you’ll never stop being a DAD and GRANDAD
So pick up the threads I relinquish
and remember the times we had.
After struggling my best to remain here,
in the love of this family and home
I promise, wherever I’m going
you’ll never be really alone.
Warmth in the chair beside you
a home-coming step on the path
And when ‘Waiting for God’ is repeated
maybe you’ll hear my laugh.
We’ll climb again from the Welsh mountains
where hilltop and sky are one,
Then descend to the magic woodland
dappled by the setting sun.
I’ll cross Borth’s beach beside you
(though only your footprints will show),
Reliving adventure that taught us
there’s nowhere too far to go.
And when it’s your time to follow
I’ll beg him to ease your pain
And stretch out my hand from the shadows
- Together once again!