Mon | Aug 21, 2017

A wonderful, tearful send off for Arthur ‘Bunny’ Robinson

Published:Wednesday | June 14, 2017 | 6:00 AMMarcia Rowe
Scully (left) performing with Bunny at the Heart of Ska show, held at the Jamaica Festival Village, Ranny Williams Centre, Hope Road, on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
Yordin Robinson speaks at his father’s thanksgiving service.
Angella Robinson
Michael Deslandes pays tribute to his friend Bunny Robinson.
Howard McGowan (centre) remembers his stepfather Bunny Robinson.
Senator Mark Golding (left) and MP Omar Davies (centre) join family and friends of Bunny Robinson in bidding farewell.
Ken Boothe
Dean Ferguson (grandson) and friend.
Bongo Herman
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Family, friends and well-wishers turned out recently to say farewell to the remarkable Arthur Ashbourn Robinson, more affectionately called 'Bunny'.

Holding back tears, in some instances, they delivered tributes in poems, anecdotes and songs for a loved one who died just before his 82nd birthday, on May 9, 2017.

The well-organised thanksgiving service for the consummate Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA) member was held at the North Street Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church on Sunday. It was a sea of red and black, Bunny's favourite colours - his team, Boys' Town Football Club and family members wore a combination of the two colours as a mark of respect.

The tightly ran programme was preceded by a short musical prelude and a poem from (JAVAA) members. The poem, The Singing Peanut Man, written and read by Bobby Dawes, was a fitting introduction. Like the poem, the tributes highlighted the admirable character traits of Bunny, spoke warmly of his skill to sell and deliver peanuts and his singing career.

Boys Town's Michael Deslandes, fighting tears, spoke of Bunny's musical career. He said Robinson joined Scully Simms to form the duo Bunny and Scully. And in 1953, their musical career began with the single, Till The End of Time. Deslandes described him as a community man, a teacher and one who was witty in his own right. He explained that many from far and near sought Bunny for lessons on how to roast and package peanuts.

Sparrow Martin's musical rendition of God Will Take Care of You seemed to have had little effect on an obviously grief-stricken son, Yordin Robinson. After completing his primary purpose, to read the first lesson of one verse, he seized the opportunity to speak about his father, the rock that always cared for his family. It was, however, in the eulogy, read by stepson Marlon Ferguson, that the depth of Bunny's commitment to fatherhood was magnified.

After six years of working on a ship, Bunny returned home to take care of his children when his then wife migrated to the United States of America.

Member of Parliament Dr Omar Davies said it was a bittersweet occasion for him, and that Bunny was a remarkable man who lived a life where he interacted with a variety of people. While Senator Mark Golding described him as Jamaica's number one peanut man. And two representatives of Independence Park Limited, operators of the National Stadium where Bunny sold his peanuts, spoke fondly of a man they called 'Mr Bunny'.

Tributes also came from other close relatives. Bongo Herman and Ken Boothe performed songs while the officiating minister, Pastor Brian Shaw, was true to his promise of delivering a 10-minute sermon.

Arthur Ashbourn Robinson is survived by wife and 19 children, including stepchildren. Interment was at Meadowrest Memorial Gardens.