Richard Silverwood-Dispatch Editor 1989-2012
Whenever sportspeople, TV stars, actors, artists, authors, anyone in the public eye, get together for their end-of-year, pat-on-the-back bash, they like to present a lifetime achievement award.
Journalists seem too busy fending off attempts at Press regulation to be in party mood as 2013 draws to a close. But if they had such an award to hand out, Denis Robinson, of this parish, would surely be odds-on favourite to win it.
Sixty years of commitment to his profession and to his local community represent a record of unparalleled dedication.
It’s a record that has demanded remarkable dexterity and versatility. Whether his assignment has been a murder trial or a garden party, Denis has been at home. And always, he has earned the respect and affection of the general public.
He has also earned a reputation as a curious but charismatic character.Denis is a man who cannot drive, cannot even ride a bike, cannot swim and cannot cook (although boy, can he drink!). He does not own a mobile phone. He is bemused and baffled by Twitter.
In most orthodox worlds, these are crazy, unorthodox traits that would make even Mr Bean blush. But in the world of Denis Robinson, they are accepted as wonderful insights into a unique personality. Mere asides to his even more endearing qualities, such as unbridled chivalry, generosity, care and concern for the community, a cheery, cheeky-chappy persona and, above all, an unswerving devotion to duty.
Three years ago, the Dispatch told him to bring that devotion to duty to an end. We tried to get him to put his feet up. We all turned up for his retirement do, said our speeches, sang our songs and bade our tearful farewells.
We should have known better. He’s still around. Still trudging from town to village in the pursuit of news. Still enriching the lives of Dispatch readers.
Sixty not out, Our Denis is still at the crease, hitting advanced technology, social media, the digital revolution, financial cutbacks, redundancies and retirements for six.
As the legendary jockey Lester Piggott once said: “Retirement feels so good, I might try it again one day.”
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner and former Mp for Sherwood Paddy Tipping
I have known Denis for well over 30 years and he is an absolute treasure. He definitly comes out of his own mould and is a man people know and trust and a great guy to work with.
Over the years he has written some not so polite things about me but I have always forgiven him as he is always fair.
Ashfield District and Nottinghamshire County Coun John Wilmott
Denis Robinson is an incredible person having completed 60 years of service to newspaper reporting. In all that time I do not think he has ever turned down a meeting or event that may possibly produce a good story, day and night you could rely on Denis to be there.
Not only that, anyone who needed any help not only would he report the story, he would then try to contact the necessary organisation to obtain help for the person. Why did Denis go to so many events to report a story? I feel it may have been because he enjoys meeting people and he did not like letting people down.He is a very humorous person and is well liked in the community, and after all the hard work he has done over many years he deserves a commendation, an OBE or an MBE would not go a miss.
So arise Sir Denis. You know he will never retire, he loves his job too much.
Coun Denis Beeston MBE, chairman of the Bestwood St Albans Parish Council
Denis Robinson is quite a remarkable fellow; he’s a modest, kind and gentle man who has a wealth of local knowledge; not just a Dispatch reporter, but an Ambassador for the Dispatch area, someone who will put himself out for people too.
Denis would turn up for parish meetings in either Top Valley or Bestwood Village, rain, snow, or blow, having walked from either Hucknall or Bulwell. We remember one year it was very, very cold and there was probably a couple of inches of snow on the ground, we didn’t expect too many people to turn up from the village to the meeting, in fact there was none, but sure enough Denis Robinson was there and he had walked from Hucknall over the Leen foot path to be at the meeting.
Denis is a reporter who will go that extra mile for anyone, he’s has a kind and companionate way, he’s a friend to everyone and known by many for being community minded – All the Parish Councillors hope he will keep up the good work.
Denis CONGRATULATIONS on reaching your milestone 60 years.
Ken and Sheila Robinson - Hucknall Tourism & Regeneration Group
Denis Robinson, what a hard working and conscientious employee he has been of the Hucknall & Bulwell Dispatch for the past 60 years.
He is a charming fellow, well known and seeming to turn up to take notes at every event, meeting, etc in the Hucknall and Bulwell area even when he is not on duty.
When he ‘officially’ retired a few years ago, Hucknall Tourism & Regeneration Group made him a lifetime member and presented him with a framed certificate which he carried around in his bag for several weeks showing it to everyone he met.
Whenever we, Ken and myself, are present when Denis visits any event, he usually introduces himself as ‘no relation’ to us. The latest news though is that he has begun researching his family tree and is now not so sure!
We wish him good health for many more years into the future. He deserves it.
Maureen Newton- Hucknall Heritage Society
Hucknall Heritage Society would like to say congratulations to Denis on his Diamond Anniversary working for the Hucknall Dispatch. From beginning work in 1953 he must have been thinking how much his work has changed in the light of the new technology we use today in 2013.
There are few of us who live in the town who don’t know him and think of his journalistic skill as he has written about so many events involving our own families’ past and the important happenings locally.
So thank you Denis for your writing abilities and being there for all of us Hucknall townsfolk.
Graham Allen MP Nottingham North
Denis is as much a part of the Bulwell scene as Bulwell market. Although I’ve been around a long time, to walk down the street with Denis I have to be prepared that more people will recognise him first with a “aye-up Den!”. Wherever I’ve opened a community centre, attended a presentation at a school or protested about some Government decision, Denis has always been on hand. He has lived locally for as long as I’ve known him.
His passion and commitment to our area is without question. Known affectionately as “Scoop” he has been a permanent fixture over my years as a Member of Parliament.
Although I’ve known him many years and regard him as a friend, our friendship never stops him from asking the tough questions on behalf of local people. But he doesn’t just seek information – he gives it and is a mine of ideas and history about Bulwell.
I know he will continue to serve Bulwell as a journalist and a citizen for as long as he draws breath because he just can’t help it! He cares so much about our little corner of the world.
Warmest regards and best wishes for many years to come.
Bill Blackamore- Bulwell Forest Action Group
Denis Robinson was born and bred in Bulwell and for 60 years has served well the communities of Bulwell and Hucknall as a newspaper reporter at the Dispatch.
He is more than just a reporter he is a man with a mission to keep residents informed and aware of what is going on in our two communities both of which he loves. It isn’t just a job it is his vocation in life and he continues to serve both communities now in retirement and supports a variety of community based groups and organisations.
Did he actually retire or merely go through the motions and then continue to do what he has always done?
Using public transport and “shanks’ pony” with his excellent skills in taking down information in shorthand, he sought out the stories. An iconic and much loved character who will go down in local history as our own Samuel Pepys giving us news and information about life in the latter part of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.
Today I went to the cinema to see “Sunshine on Leith” a film based on 13 Proclaimers songs including I would walk 500 miles “When I go out... Yea I know I’m going to be I’m going to be that man who goes along with you” and this is a song I have associated with Denis ever since its release because he would walk 500 miles for a story and he has for the past 60 years.
I have known Denis all this time as he is a life long resident of Bulwell and we are near neighbours.
Denis was both surprised and honoured to be offered a position as a reporter with the Dispatch and for 60 years he has always seemed to be everywhere with his notebook and pencil.
He is not just a reporter he is interested in and cares for local residents. He is able to draw out a story from the people he interviews. He is always a good listener and very perceptive and long may it continue.
I think that such dedication should be recognised in the Government’s Honours’ list recognising Denis’s long service and achievement in public life in our two communities.