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Story by: ANDREW PAPWORTH
Saturday, March 17, 2012
A RETIRED travelling salesman will be very much at home today as he celebrates his 100th birthday.
In a career spanning many years Godfrey Robinson built up a hard-earned reputation flogging Daz and Ariel washing powder to traders in the UK.
Mr Robinson, who still wears a bow tie every day just as he did when he was out on the road, began by selling sweets for the Mayfair Confectionery Company on the streets of London in the 1930s.
“I started as a painter and decorator but it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” he said. “I wanted to be out on the road selling.”
After a spell in the RAF as a military policeman during the Second World War he returned to sales for Thomas Hedley, which later became Procter and Gamble.
Youngest son Michael Robinson said: “The job was very different back then.
“Every day he had a time sheet which he had to fill in, which had who he called on and who he sold to.”
He sold internationally-recognised P&G brands until his retirement in 1976, winning several awards including salesman of the month and salesman of the year.
According to Mr Robinson, the secret to a good salesman is honesty.
He said: “If you have honesty, they trust you. If I called up the trade and they didn’t want anything, I didn’t press them.”
Mr Robinson is so highly regarded by his former employers that Vice President and Managing Director of Procter and Gamble UK, Irwin Lee, wrote to him ahead of his birthday to say: “I congratulate you on reaching such a great milestone.”
And he has even received a telephone call from Buckingham Palace to tell him a special delivery by Her Majesty The Queen will arrive today at Askham House, Doddington, where he now lives.
Later his three children Jennifer, Peter and Michael will be joined by his eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and visitors from abroad, for a birthday celebration.
They will watch a film grandson Simon Robinson has made about the 100-year-old’s life and 100 balloons will be put up to mark the big occasion.
Mr Robinson, who formerly lived in Wimblington, revealed his secret to a long and healthy life is a bowl of porridge every morning.