It is with great sadness that we learn of the death at home of Dilwyn (Dil) Robbins, former stalwart Distance Runner and Swansea Harriers Life member on 29th November. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his wife Christine and sons Gareth and Jonathan and daughter Louise and his grandchildren.
The funeral will be held at Margam Crematorium at 10.00 on Friday 8th December.
Having suffered from various health issues in recent times he had battled strongly in line with his competitive character, but ultimately the problems took their toll.
He joined Swansea Harriers in the mid 1960’s after a very successful career with Port Talbot Harriers in the early years of the decade when, along with Jim O’Brien, he formed the backbone of a strong distance running group who achieved many individual and team successes on Road and Country.
The arrival of Swansea Harriers on the athletic scene in 1962 provided Dil with the opportunity to engage in top class Track competition in addition to Road and Country and he transferred west to join Swansea in the middle of the decade and in this new era led by example when competing across all disciplines. Very single minded you always knew what his ambitions and aims were.
Winner of the Welsh 1 mile title in 1961 and runner up the following year plus a third place in the 3 mile Championship in 1967 gave him a set of Senior Welsh Medals along with the many team medals he gained with Port Talbot and Swansea on the Road and Country competing across all distances from 1 mile up to Marathon.
Visits to his home by many athletes on weekends resulted in runs over the mountain behind his Port Talbot home. One of these saw the group finish the run on the hill overlooking the Aberavon Rugby Ground when a combined Neath – Aberavon squad were playing the All Blacks. His methodical and analytical preparation for races and training was recorded diligently in Diaries kept over many years and anyone who had competed and trained with him would soon be given details of results and sessions from memory without reference to the book.
He loved to reminisce about his beloved Margam of which he had an extreme in depth knowledge of its history, and also his time in the Army where he was a member of the Army of The Rhine Rugby team playing against a German National Team in the shadow of the great Olympic Stadium in Berlin. Athletics was always included in conversations especially the good old days of competitions and training. His book shelves displayed a wide range of reading material outside of athletics the contents of which were avidly digested.
He was a strong family man with three children and three grandchildren and was rarely seen out and about without wife Christine to whom he was married for 52 years. He loved the outdoors and walking his dogs, all of whom received suitable athletic names (Wilma one of the earliest after Wilma Rudolf) – the current one being MO. His wry sense of humour was legendary amongst his friends.
Chris and Dil served as excellent joint Club Secretaries in the 90’s and the club benefited greatly from their joint expertise for a period of time. As usual Dil was very committed to his role producing a magazine as part of his duties with many of his own jokes included. For the club’s 50th Birthday a History of Swansea Harriers was produced on the web site. Much of the content came from Dil’s efforts of chronicling the early events of the club and hopefully will be used again sometime in the future.
Although not active in recent times, because of his health, he nevertheless kept a keen interest in club activities and successes. His part in the early years of the Harriers will not be forgotten by those who have been involved. He will be greatly missed by his family and all of those with whom he did battle over many years.
Obituary by John Griffiths