Your Harlow

ROBIN Campbell, who has lived and worked in Harlow since 1962, has died aged 85.

He and his beloved late wife (Ruby) arrived in the town of Pram to work as primary school teachers.

They originally lived in a flat in Radburn Close before moving to Elmbridge’s new estate in Old Harlow in 1965 (which Robin discovered was under construction for a long time!).

Robin worked at various schools in Harlow including Hare Street and the Downs before becoming headmaster of Tany’s Dell.

He remained there until 1974 when he moved into higher education as a lecturer in education (teacher teachers!) at Hatfield Polytechnic (now the University of Hertfordshire) .

He rose through the ranks, obtaining a master’s degree and then a doctorate and obtaining the title of professor, publishing numerous books and articles on the reading of young children.

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This was later followed by a series of fiction books for the under-11s, his most memorable fictional account of his childhood in war-torn London titled “Watching for Doodlebugs”.

More “famous”, Robin was a great runner, finishing 1st and 2nd at the Southern and National Cross Country Championships in 1958 and posting a very fast 2:20:20 for the marathon in 1964 (while the world record no was only 2:14).

In the 1970s, he took up orienteering and represented Great Britain in an international competition in Bulgaria.

When he retired, he and Ruby traveled the world, visiting many countries and traveling through France and Spain (their favorite countries) in their two VW motorhomes.

More recently he became a Parkrun Tourist, visiting 246 different events and running 342 in total, including 40 in Harlow.

He leaves behind his son, Robert, and daughter, Mary, and five grandchildren, all of whom he adored (as well as occasionally used for academic research on reading).

Between them, they have already obtained 11 diplomas (two of which have not yet reached university age), a tribute to his example, his support and his advice.

Dad himself left school at 16 with just a few O-levels and got his 3 part-time degrees through the Open University. He has lived a wonderful and fulfilling life and will peacefully join his beloved wife, Ruby, and his deceased son, Bruce (who died in infancy). RIP – Run in peace, Robin.

By Robert Campbell

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Dino J. Dotson