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The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund

The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF's leading welfare charity providing practical, financial and emotional support to all members of the RAF family, from childhood through to old age. We help with issues from childcare and relationship difficulties to injury and disability, and from financial hardship and debt to illness and bereavement.

Appreciation For Anne Violet Robinson By Jemma Morgan

Before I start I ought to let you know that I have always called Anne Addie, Michael Pompa and Dennis Rob – sorry if that’s confusing – it all makes perfect sense to me!

Over the past couple of weeks I have been remembering times I spent with Addie and wandering back in my mind, I think my earliest memory is of being looked after by her (with Matthew as well) while Reuben was being born
– we were at Appleacre and made lavender bags with her – I remember a semi circle of lavender bushes and the sunshine and the orange fabric we used to make them (this was 1976 and orange was IN!)

Reflecting on that memory I have realised that it illustrates three prime characteristics of Addie.
The first is her innate creativity and ability to share the delight of making something lovely. We all know what a knitter she was, a quite a crochetter too. I and my children have all benefitted from her clicking pins with our Addie jumpers and blankets – she gave me my set of bamboo knitting needles and I can recall hilarious conversations between Addie and my Mum about knitted skirts and half finished pullovers.

I seem to remember trips to Bath often involving the Phildar shop, and more recently being in Frome with Mum and Addy and determinedly hiking up the cobbled streets to the yarn shop.

Those lavender bags were also the start of a long relationship which often involved scent – I remember going to the Museum of Costume in Bath and after wandering round adoring the dresses together, going to the shop and buying tiny glass tubes of Violet perfume with her – a really unusual fragrance, but one that still reminds me vividly of her.

And as I grew up she would often give me grown up perfume as a present – Nina Ricci scents were favourites. Scent is so evocative and perfume is a treat and, having brought up a young family in the austerity of the post war years, she obviously knew the real value of little luxuries – as an adult and mother myself, Addies treats were always an unnecessary but spoily pressie – she knew well the boost that a little bit of luxury can bring to a tiring day.

Another characteristic of Addie that that earliest memory points towards hides in that trendy orange fabric. Addie, although her hair style never changed in all the time I knew her, always had an eye for style, fashion and general elegance - even her late 80s she would derive great pleasure from browsing through magazines aimed at younger readers to see what was fashionable and new.

The sporty little blue soft top Spitfire was a case in point and I distinctly remember climbing into the little bench seat in the back to go to Badminton Horse Trials with her and Rob.

And blue is, if I remember correctly, the colour of the dress Addy is wearing in that wonderfully elegant portrait of her that hangs at the top of the stairs in Willow Cottage – it’s a picture that I remember from always – and I remember too when it dawned on me that the beautiful, poised lady in the picture was actually my Addy.

So much of growing up is seeing the adults you know through new eyes as you experience first hand things that they have lived through. I have been lucky enough to have used, for our four boys, the cot which Addy and Pompa used with their own four children and which Addie’s own little girl, my Mum used with Reuben, Matthew and myself – it is amazing to think that she too tucked babies to bed in it, sang them songs and said their prayers with them just as I have.
That she would tuck kisses into the palms of our hands and curl our fingers around them to save them for later, or to put in our pockets to pass on to others, just as my Mum does with my children now and I hope one day to do with grandchildren of my own perhaps – because at the end of the day the most important thing we are left with of Addie is her love of us and for us and it is that love – those hugs and kisses – that we must not fail to remember and pass on.

Added on: 28th June 2010


Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
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