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Grafton Basketball Association president Nathan Martin presented Bryan Robins with a life membership at a special presentation on January 23. Image: Emma Pritchard

Bryan Robins farewells the Clarence Valley

Emma Pritchard

As he was presented with life membership from the Grafton Basketball Association, Bryan Robins gazed down at the beautifully framed memento in his hands and showed his humble character when he said there are “other blokes who should be standing here ahead of me.”

“We certainly don’t give them away,” he joked with a smile.

Mr Robins was presented with the incredible accolade at a special farewell at the Village Green Hotel in Grafton on January 23.

Surrounded by a small group of friends and former colleagues who raised their glasses and wished him all the best ahead of the next chapter of his life, Mr Robins smiled graciously and reflected on the many events he has been a part of since he arrived in the Clarence Valley 39 years ago.

A passionate fan of basketball, Mr Robins said he came to Grafton in 1982 as an officer with the NSW State Emergency Service and “wasn’t here a week” before he was hooked up with the Imperial Basketball team and played for them for close to 40 years, even after they changed from the Imperial Hotel to the Village Green Hotel in 1990.

“I’m really proud to say that in all of the time I played here in Grafton, I ever only played for that team,” he said.

“I’ve loved every minute of it.

“They were some great days, and I had some fantastic teammates and they’re people I will never forget and great memories I’ll take with me.”

Mr Robins has made several significant contributions to the Clarence Valley community, including helping to establish Grafton’s first road rescue unit in the 1980’s.

He was also one of many emergency services personnel who attended the scene of the Cowper Bus crash in 1989, a tragedy which has always remained with him.

Mr Robins also campaigned to have the 33 local SES volunteers formally acknowledged for their selfless services following the horrific accident.

In 2014, their efforts were recognised during a NSW Premier’s Awards ceremony.

Mr Robins ran as an Independent for the seat of Clarence in the 2015 State elections and will always be remembered as a stalwart of the local community.

Mr Robins and his wife Kerry will relocate to Wellington this week following her accepting a dream job offer to continue her work in aged care.

When asked what he would miss the most about the Clarence Valley, Mr Robins said the people and the friendships he has formed throughout the past 39 years.

Mr Robins said he is planning to join community volunteer organisations in Wellington, namely Meals on Wheels.

His life membership from Grafton Basketball Association will be one of the first frames to be hung on the wall in his new home.

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