Those of us who knew Robert and learnt of his sudden death in Les Houches last Sunday evening will have been shocked and deeply saddened. Although no longer members of the Club those that knew the Rankins will long remember Robert, Alison, Charles and Shona. In their relatively short time as members they were great Ambassadors for the Club whenever they attended the many races throughout the year and contributed fully to the Club in general.
In my long years with the Club I cannot think of too many more dedicated and enthusiastic family members. Each weekend, whatever the weather, they would make the long return trip from Duns to Aviemore and invariably they would be the first to greet me in the car park in the morning all raring to go.
It was evident from my first encounter with Robert how keen he and Alison were for Charles and Shona to progress. He took a particularly keen interest in all matters related to training and he would occasionally quiz me as to why the Coaches were doing, or not doing, certain things. We did not always agree but we did not let it affect a friendship. It showed that he really cared.Indeed many of us will have shared and enjoyed his company over a hot chocolate and bacon “buttie” during mid morning breaks in the Ptarmigan when the topic of conversation frequently turned to skiing. Robert would frequently remark “You know me, I know very little about skiing……” but I don’t think too many of us were taken in. I know he knew a lot more about skiing than he let on!
The family ceased to be members of the Club in 2012 when Alison finally stood down as the Club’s Treasurer. By this time they had already decided to spend their Winters in Les Houches no doubt partly because of their love for skiing. It is clear that Charles and Shona have greatly benefitted and one of the many sadnesses is that he will not be around to see them fulfil their very considerable potential.
Robbie Brown shared a beer or two with Robert in Les Houches only a few weeks ago and said that he seemed in great form and was good company as always which makes news of his sudden and premature death all the more tragic.
I am sure that all those Cairngorm Ski Club members who knew Robert will join me in sending my/our deepest sympathies and condolences to Alison, Charles, Shona and his wider family.