The 60 years old Crewe man was so determined to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event that despite losing the ability to walk he arrived at the Mid Cheshire College Arts and Media Building at Hartford near Northwich in a wheelchair.
And as guests began leaving the packed exhibition he confided in fellow mature student Maria Morley that he would love to see his Big Day become an annual event giving his fellow Cheshire artists the opportunity to realise their potential.
“Keith made the point that working as an artist can be a solitary business and he was delighted that the exhibition had given him the opportunity to show his work to the public and fellow artists,” recalled Maria from Hartford. “But he wanted others to experience the satisfaction of having their work exhibited too.”
Keith’s bravery and single-mindedness so inspired Maria and fellow mature art students Jane Mills and Caroline Lea that they launched a campaign to create an annual arts exhibition in Keith’s name.
“We wanted to somehow enable Keith to achieve his dream so we set about telling others about Keith’s dream and we were delighted with the huge level of support we received.
Their campaign captured the hearts and minds of fellow students and soon the three campaigners found they had also won the backing of college chiefs and now the Keith Robinson Memorial Exhibition has become an annual event.
“It really is a dream come true,” added Maria. “Keith was such a nice man, such an inspiration to all of us that we had to do something to ensure he is forever remembered.”
Jane Mills, who lives in Great Budworth added: “After Keith’s death the three of us got together and chatted about how we could continue with the exhibition in his memory. We decided that Keith would want other art students, particularly those who had attended Mid Cheshire College in the past, to have their work exhibited so we began discussions with the college.”
Middlewich-based Caroline Lea said: “We tested the opinion of other staff and students and there was a clear consensus. Anybody who had met or worked with Keith had been struck by his devotion to his art. And we had all seen how much that exhibition meant to him.
“Now the Keith Robinson Memorial Exhibition is an annual event and I am sure Keith would have been very proud. Whatsmore, the annual event might encourage a new generation of would-be artists to come along and show the world what they can do.”
Keith’s widow Nancy, who lives in Crewe, said her late husband would have been delighted that the exhibition was now an annual event.
“Keith would have been so very proud,” she said. “The whole family were so proud of him when he exhibited his work at the exhibition before his death in 2009.”
She told how Keith had attended art college for a short time when he was a young man but had felt he should pursue a more traditional career. He left college and became an engineer.
“But he never forgot his love of art and when he was made redundant in his late 50s he enrolled at Mid Cheshire College as a mature art student,” recalled Nancy. “He loved creating sculptures using work materials including metal and resins. He had a rare talent.
“It is wonderful to know that his hard work and devotion to his art have been recognised.”
Twenty five years old Hartford born glass blower Ben Walters will present a collection of his work at next month’s Keith Robinson Memorial Exhibition which runs from May 5th to May 26th. Coincidentally, Ben is also a former Mid Cheshire College student who went onto Sunderland University before working at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland.
He said: “I’m proud to be able to display my work at the Keith Robinson Memorial Exhibition but it is also a very important event from a personal point of view. After having worked at the National Glass Centre I’ve now taken the decision to return home to Hartford and earn my keep from my glass blown pieces.
“I’m hoping the event will generate some sales.”
No doubt Keith would be wishing Ben the best of luck for his Memorial Exhibition debut
For further information call Mid Cheshire College on 01606 74444.