The founder of Doncaster fashion independent Robinsons of Bawtry, Tony Robinson, has died at the age of 66.
Robinson, who co-founded the independent men’s and women’s clothing retailer with his late wife Jeanette in 1986, died peacefully on 19 February surrounded by loved ones.
Robinson retired when he sold Robinsons of Bawtry to current owner Russell Jones and his family in 2009. The store, based in South Bawtry in Yorkshire, was crowned as Drapers’ best premium independent retailer in 2015.
Robinson opened a boutique called 43 in Doncaster in the 1970’s, followed by another called Olivers, at Leeds shopping district Victoria Quarter. He closed 43 in 1986, and ran Olivers until around 2005.
He set up an annual charity fashion show in aid of Yorkshire Cancer Research more than 25 years ago after Jeanette died from cancer. It has raised more than £350,000 to date.
He had since remarried, but separated with his second wife around five years ago.
Russell Jones, current owner at Robinsons of Bawtry and lifelong friend of Robinson, said: “It is with much sadness that we had to say our goodbyes to Tony, many years earlier than anyone hoped.
“He was a larger-than-life character. When he walked into the room, you knew about it – he was, nine times out of ten, the centre of attention. He was a great storyteller and great fun to spend time with.
“He was the most unlikely person you’d think would get into the fashion industry – he came out of his father’s haulage business and into fashion retail.”
Andy Longworth, friend and Bawtry business owner, said: “Tony was a true friend; a gentleman who had a fantastic sense of humour and a zest for life. It is an incredibly sad time and I shall miss him but will always look back fondly on the good times we had.”
A service will be held at 1pm at St Nicholas Parish Church in Bawtry on Friday 9 March, followed by a celebration of his life at Ye Olde Bell Hotel at Barnby Moor, Retford.
Robinson is survived by daughter Sian, 32, and son Josh, 20.