Team expresses its condolences to the family, friends, work and Mountain Rescue colleagues of Barry Robinson

The funeral took place today of respected Rossendale and Pendle MRT team member Barry Robinson, an experienced mountain rescuer and respected former Lancashire Police Officer.

Barry was not only well liked and respected within his own team, he was equally well known throughout the Mid Pennine Search and Rescue Organisation’s member MRTs.

At one time holding the post of RPMRTs Deputy Team Leader, Barry was well known to our team and his MR knowledge and friendly attitude was always appreciated by all our members who knew him.

With the kind permission of Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team we reproduce here their website tribute to Barry Robinson :

It was with great sadness on Friday 12 February, that team members gathered at St Cuthbert Church in Burnley, to say goodbye to their friend and colleague Barry Robinson.

The 55 year old former deputy team leader, a dedicated and committed team member for many years, finally lost his battle against cancer the previous week, having confounded his original prognosis with typical courage and dignity.

Barry was a policeman, scout leader, mountain rescue team member and fire prevention team leader, and a dedicated family man.

During his 32-year police career, he spent time on the beat, but also operated with the firearms unit and a special search unit which investigated bombs and terrorist threats. Notably modest about his achievements, he was commended for bravery after a Nelson pub incident. Latterly, he enjoyed working with young people and schools.

Towards the end of his police career, he worked with the UN Police Force in Bosnia for a year, helping train the police service there, following the civil war. He also joined his sister Jackie on a trip to Nepal to work on a refugee centre.

Besides his mountain rescue commitments, Barry was also a dedicated scout leader, receiving a 20-year long service medal in 2009 for his contribution to the organisation.

He retired from the police in 2003, taking up a post at Edge End High School in Nelson for a time before joining Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service as a fire prevention team leader.

At his funeral, uniformed fire officers and mountain rescue team members lined the street to greet the family cortege. Following the service, the cars traced a respectful and circuitous route to the cemetery via Burnley fire station, all its shining pumps on the forecourt as the firefighters on duty stood in solemn salute.

But, what of Barry as a mountain rescue team member? His first experience of Rossendale & Pendle Mountain Rescue Team was during an incident on Pendle Hill at Halloween in 1992, where he was called in as the SOCO. Clearly thinking the team needed his help he joined in May 1993, bringing a wealth of experience from his time in the police, particularly in the areas of search management and training.

He served as a member of the team council as well as spending several years heavily involved with the training group, and as deputy team leader for around eight years. He was instrumental in how the team’s relationships with the other statutory emergency services developed over the years. Many of the team’s standard operating procedures were written by Barry, culminating last year in him rewriting the entire team rule book – a legacy which will continue to influence the team and how it runs for many years to come. Over sixteen years, Barry attended hundreds of incidents, regularly leading operations and bringing great skill and professionalism to everything he did.

In his ’spare’ time he was a keen mountaineer and caver, and responsible for many of the team’s social excursions. Team leader Andy Simpson recalls that, inevitably, these things involved a small amount of beer.

’On one occasion, after a long day in the North Wales mountains, with team members convincing Barry that if he screwed his fists into his eyes really hard he’d be able to see worms swimming in front of his eyelids. It took about ten minutes but he was delighted when he found them, although he couldn’t quite understand why his head ached a little more than expected the morning after.’

Never one to stand on ceremony, Barry was able to demonstrate his caving prowess at a team dinner, when he managed to get all the way over, under then back on top of a table without touching the floor. He followed this by threading himself through the legs of a bar stool (no mean feat wearing a dinner suit) before getting stuck half way through and being told by the bar staff that it would cost him £70 if he broke it to get out. Skilled, funny but also thrifty, Barry managed to get himself all the way through rather than waste valuable beer money on a piece of furniture.

Barry was diagnosed with bowel cancer in December 2007. It had spread to his liver and he was told he had 12 to 18 months to live.

’He fought it so bravely and with real dignity,’ said Linda. ’He never complained, and never asked ’Why me?’ He was very much a family man and was selfless, putting us first. We had a happy life and we had lots of joy.’

As well as Linda and sister Jackie, Barry leaves a son Ben (29) and daughter Gemma (26) and two border collies.

We feel sure Andy speaks for everyone on the team when he says that ’in equal measure the team’s harshest critic and it’s greatest supporter, as a friend, colleague and mentor Barry will be greatly missed by all who knew him.’