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The doors are closed at Willowglen Garden Centre today (Tuesday 4 May) after the sad news that one of Stornoway’s great personalities, Bill Robinson, has passed away.

The founder and driving force of the garden centre, Bill had been in retirement for some years, but was still a regular presence around the business.

In a Facebook post this afternoon, his family said: “It is with great sadness that we have to let you know that today the main man within our family sadly passed away.”

With his ready smile and warm nature, he was a favourite of gardeners and pet-lovers alike, often to be found with one of the garden centre’s rescue cats on his knee as he demonstrated the comforts of the outdoor furniture.

Bill and Ann Robinson were originally from Birmingham, moving to Stornoway with their son Richard in the 1990s. Ann originally ran Occasions Florists in Cromwell Street, while the menfolk built the garden centre business at its location off Matheson Road from scratch. The two businesses were brought under one roof in 2010.

Immediate reaction to the sad news came from regular customers, who posted their thoughts on the Gardening in the Hebrides page of Facebook.

One said: “So very, very sorry to hear this. Won’t be the same without him somehow. Always a cheery disposition and banter – he will be sadly missed.” Another posted: “A great character. Always a positive remark and a smile,” and a third added: “He was such a lovely man, had good banter with him every time we saw him. He will be missed.”

Willowglen Garden Centre will remain closed until Friday (7 May).

(The photograph is from the Willowglen Garden Centre Facebook Page)