Queen's Guide to Morecambe Bay Cedric Robinson dies aged 88

King of the Sands Cedric Robinson, who was Queen's Guide in Morecambe Bay for more than half a century, has died at the age of 88.

Saturday, 20th November 2021, 11:54 am
Updated Saturday, 20th November 2021, 11:56 am

The fisherman, who led hundreds of thousands of walkers across the shifting sands of the bay and helped raise millions for charity, passed away last night - just weeks after losing his devoted wife Olive.

"Cedric was a truly remarkable man," said his biographer Lindsay Sutton, who wrote his life story "The Sands of Time" in 2019.

"He never really got over losing her. He doted on Olive and he was devastated when she passed away. It broke his heart."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Cedric at the head of a group of charity walkers raising money for Galloway's Society for the Blind based in Preston.

Cedric, who was made an MBE for his work in Morecambe Bay, had been in failing health for some time.

He only retired from the historic role of Queen's Guide to the Sands in 2019 at the age of 86. He had held the title, which dates back to 1548, for a record 56 years and was paid the princely sum of £15 a year.

A spokesperson for the Guide Over Sands Trust tweeted today: "Our beloved Cedric has closed his eyes for the last time. He is now at peace and is with his wife Olive who he missed so much.

"Now Cedric it's time to rest your sandy feet and keep an eye on us from up there."

Cedric was Queen's Guide for 56 years.

Another friend, signing herself Fionamusicinthelakes, wrote: "Unbelievably sad that we have lost Cedric too, only weeks after his beautiful wife Olive died. He was a giant in the history of our bay."

Cedric's unrivalled knowledge of Morecambe Bay kept thousands of charity walkers safe every summer, helping them to avoid treacherous quicksand and dangerous channels.

Every walk took more than three hours and he was still keeping up a good pace at the head of his followers well into his eighties.

He also guided a host of celebrities across the perilous sands including Melvyn Bragg, Bill Bryson, Sir Harry Secombe, Judith Chalmers, Victoria Wood, Sir Ian McKellen, Matthew Kelly, David Bellamy and chef Rick Stein.

Cedric with author and long-time friend Lindsay Sutton.

He even got a Royal command to accompany Prince Philip on a cross-bay ride on a horse and carriage in 1985.

"The two became good friends after that adventure," said writer Lindsay Sutton, who accompanied Cedric on hundreds of walks across the bay as an assistant.

"He knew every inch of that bay and he lived for it. He couldn't wait to get out there guiding groups of charity fundraisers every two weeks throughout the summer.

"He had been a fisherman on foot, by horse and cart and then by tractor since he was 14 years old, catching shrimps, mussels and flat fish. His dad and grandfather were both fishermen before him. Amazingly Cedric only ever went on a boat once and he said he didn't like it.

The Duke of Edinburgh asked Cedric to act as guide when he crossed the sands of Morecambe Bay from Silverdale to Kent's Bank with a horse and carriage in 1985 - the first time it had been done in more than 130 years.

"He and Olive lived a fairly frugal life - their cottage had no central heating and no double glazing.

"Olive was nine years older than Cedric and over the past few years she suffered from memory problems and he more or less became her full time carer. He always referred to her as 'my beautiful Olive.'

"Over his time as Queen's Guide to the Sands he pioneered fundraising cross-bay walks and took thousands of walkers across the bay from Arnside to Grange-over-Sands.

"He realised the fundraising potential of the bay and it has just grown and grown since then. He is responsible for immense amounts of money, millions, being raised for charities.

"I first went with him more than 30 years ago and I have done it hundreds of times since. Amazingly Cedric had a triple heart bypass in his forties, yet he was as strong as an ox.

"He lived a very healthy life, eating fresh fish and sandfire. He had a horse and beef cattle and hens. He didn't travel - he never went abroad. He once said he took Olive to Scarborough, they had a good time, but he preferred Morecambe.

"When I wrote the book I regarded it as a labour of love. It was a testament to a truly remarkable man - the last of his kind."

Cedric and Olive leave five children.