FULSOME tributes from former pupils are among hundreds paid to a former PE teacher and rugby player who taught thousands of young people during a career of approaching 40 years.

Neil Robinson, who has died after a battle with cancer, taught PE first at Tredegar Comprehensive School and later further down the Sirhowy Valley at Blackwood Comprehensive.

Touching messages left on Blackwood Comprehensive School PE department’s Facebook page - by friends, colleagues, former pupils, and parents - remember “an inspirational man”, “a true professional” and “a role model” who inspired those he taught to achieve their best.

Many messages from former pupils are signed off 'RIP sir' or 'RIP Mr Robinson', and remember his teaching and motivational skills and the support he provided.

And his son Jonathan Robinson told the Argus the kind words - passed on too through a Twitter message he posted - are helping to "ease the blow" for him and his brothers, who also lost their mum Diane less than a year ago.

South Wales Argus:

INSPIRATIONAL: Neil Robinson and wife Diane, pictured in 2018

Mr Robinson, who would have been 61 today, taught at Blackwood Comprehensive for more than 30 years, including a stint as assistant head. He retired in July 2017.

A Welsh Schools Rugby international in the 1970s, blindside flanker Mr Robinson later played for, among others, UWIC - now Cardiff Met - and Ebbw Vale, where he was captain for a spell in the 1980s. Appreciations have been posted on the clubs' websites.

South Wales Argus:

FLANKER: Neil Robinson playing for Ebbw Vale in the 1980s

Of his father's teaching career, son Jonathan Robinson said: “He just wanted to get children involved in sporting activities.

“He was very passionate about teaching. He and Phil Villa (a fellow PE teacher at Blackwood) tried to give their pupils all the opportunities they could.”

Rugby of course, was ever present, but there was room for the unusual too, like trampolining, in which Mr Robinson helped produce a crop of young talents, some of whom represented Wales.

“He was a PE teacher through and through. He hated wearing a shirt and trousers, and would be in shorts 364 days of the year,” said Jonathan.


Mr Robinson, who lived in Tredegar, was diagnosed with bowel cancer late in 2018. His wife Diane, a teacher at Pen-y-Cwm School, Ebbw Vale, died last July, also of cancer. They have three sons - Greg, 34, Josh 30, and Jonathan, 27.

Jonathan posted a tribute on Twitter hours after his dad died, and says the response across social media has been “amazing”.

“It’s put a massive smile on our faces. We know he’s special but when you see that others saw it too, it helps ease the blow,” he said.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their kind words.”