Robin Birley

Vindolanda Trust - Thursday, August 30, 2018

It is with immense sadness that The Vindolanda Trust announces the death of Robin Birley, founder Director of the Trust, on the evening of Wednesday August 29th 2018.

Robin died, as he lived, with great courage and dignity and was surrounded by the love and comfort of his son Andrew, daughter Sonya, brother Tony and his devoted wife and soulmate Patricia.

The Vindolanda Trust will forever indebted and grateful to Robin for without his determination, passion and incredible vision Vindolanda would not be the amazing Roman site that it is today.

He was an inspirational and generous leader with boundless energy who encouraged thousands of wonderful volunteers from all walks of life to join him in his excavations at Vindolanda for over 30 years.  Robin made outstanding archaeological discoveries, including the major Vindolanda writing tablets,  but he always put the team first and never failed to give credit where it was due. He was also an astute business man who dedicated himself to the colleagues with whom he worked to ensure that the Vindolanda Trust developed into a sustainable and fully independent Charitable Trust. He received daily reports of how things were going on the excavations and remained totally absorbed in all aspects of the Trust until the eve of his death.

As proud Northumbrian and socialist with a strong sense of public duty he served with integrity as a Chair and Leader of Northumberland County Council, a Deputy Lord Lieutenant and senior magistrate.

It is however as our man at Vindolanda that we remember him. He leaves behind his much- loved family and his beloved Vindolanda. Robin made history, the work continues and his Vindolanda legacy is eternal.

Further information will be released in due course regarding a commemoration service to be held at Vindolanda.


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"Extraordinary display - the most insight you could have into Roman lives. Thank you!" A, England - Vindolanda