How villagers matched a widower's devotion to keep memorial pristine
- Credit: supplied by Warren Robinson
If you are a regular walking at Winterton it's likely you have stumbled across a touching memorial garden in the dunes.
Comprising a small picket fence embracing a collection of flowers and lovingly-arranged stones and trinkets, many have probably stopped to wonder about the story behind the carefully tended seaside shrine.
For six years, Warren Robinson, 55, has been making the journey from his home in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, to honour his wife Sue who died suddenly aged 49.
Their story has now come to light as lockdown restrictions on travel and making essential journeys mean he has had to stay away - reaching out to villagers to help him mark her memory.
Ahead of the sixth anniversary of her death on February 1, Mr Robinson put out a tentative plea on social media asking if anyone would lay flowers on his behalf, which he would, of course, pay for.
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On the day he was touched and overwhelmed to be sent pictures of the site brimming with yellow blooms and even a flower-studded pillow bearing her name - local folk having matched his devotion and pulled out all the stops.
"Everybody has been so fantastic," he said.
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"The amount of flowers that were there is just unbelievable. I am welling up talking about it."
"I normally go every first Sunday of the month.
"It is two and a half hour drive but it gets me out. I think I am classed as a local.
"That was Sue's wish to be scattered on Winterton beach. I put a few yellow flowers and petals there and decided I would do it every month.
"There were stones and flowers and it got a bit more and a bit more, then there was a little white fence.
"I just like to do it."
Mr Robinson last visited on December 11, Sue's birthday.
The couple met as teenagers.
Born just five days apart, they discovered they were in the same special care baby unit at the same time - a coincidence that seemed to seal their union.
They married in September just ahead of their 21st birthdays, both in yellow - Sue's favourite colour - after her groom was over-ruled on his choice of claret to reflect his passion for his beloved Northampton Town football team.
Sue worked for some 30 years at the same nursery, regarding her charges as the children they never had.
She loved her garden and holidays to Winterton with its dog-friendly beach and pub.
At just 4ft 10ins he describes her as his "pocket rocket".
"We were made for each other," he added.
"I got some lovely cards when she passed away.
"The first year was tough. We were going to have a big joint birthday party for being 50.
"But I asked for donations to Lupus UK instead."
Sue, who suffered with the long-term condition that causes joint and muscle pain, died suddenly after a short illness.
Mr Robinson had travelled on the supporters' coach to see Northampton play away and arrived home to find the house in darkness.
Sue said she had been bad all day and asked him to take the dog out. She died in the night from pneumonia related to lupus.
He said he hoped to holiday in Norfolk this year, adding that he had stayed at the Hermanus with his parents years ago.
"It's a lovely part of the world. It is just so friendly ," he said.
"I just want to say a big thank you to everyone."
Julie Wixey was among those who laid flowers.
She said: "I think we all felt for Warren, not being able to visit on such an important day.
"We just wanted to do what we could to help out."
To fund out more about Lupus or to make a donation visit lupusuk.org.uk.