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Mildred Jessie Robinson

Epithet: International cyclist (1924-1994)

Record type: Biographies

Biography: From ‘New Manx Worthies’ (2006):

Millie Robinson came with her parents, six brothers and two sisters during the 1930s from a farm in the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland) to live in Peel. She attended Peel Clothworkers' School. As soon as she was old enough, she joined the wartime Women's Land Army, a job which she much enjoyed.

She started competitive cycling in 1949 in local grass track events such as the Andreas Sports, and then joined the Manx Viking Wheelers Cycling Club. From then on all her time and money were devoted to training and racing. After being successful on Manx roads she began to travel to England to race as often as finances would permit; at that time amateurs received no financial help whatsoever.

In 1955, with her friend Ann King, she decided to move to England to pursue her interest in cycling. She kept herself by working in her brother's haulage firm in Leeds. During the following years she won the National 25 Mile Time Trial three years in succession and was also the British Best All Rounder over 25 miles, 50 and 100 miles. The trophy for this was presented to her at the Royal Albert Hall in London in front of some 6,000 people. On this occasion the master of ceremonies, according to one newspaper report, introduced her by saying 'Now we come to that outstanding and popular rider, the finest produced by the Isle of Man', and there was a roar of applause.

Millie was the winner of numerous events in England, both time trials and massed start events, and she won the Massed Start Championship.

She was the winner over many years, during Cycling Week on the Island, of the Ellan Vannin 25 mile event and, in 1953, was the first-ever winner of the Green Final Trophy for Sportsman of the Year. In 1956 she was honoured in London at the Sportswoman of Britain dinner as the representative for cycling. Millie broke three world records on the track in Italy, at Milan, including the one-hour record. She was also winner of the first two international stage races, held over three days and five days respectively, promoted for women in France.

In 1960 she decided to retire from competitive cycling and returned to her roots in the Island. She went into partnership with Norman Howell, also from the cycling world, to form the signwriting business Howell & Robinson which operated successfully for a good number of years in Westmoreland Road, Douglas. Still very interested in sport, she became a successful sailing enthusiast, taking part in both dinghy and cruiser racing. In 1978 she took up golf, and with her usual determination to succeed soon became a proficient player. Millie's work career took another turn when she became an officer in the women's wing at Victoria Road Prison.

In addition to her lifetime's involvement in sports, Millie Robinson was a member of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society, the Manx Conservation Trust, Onchan Horticultural Society, the Isle of Man Victorian Society and the Manx Ornithological Society. Among her peers, she was regarded as being an excellent example of what a sportsperson should be; always pleasant, friendly and very popular. She died in 1994 and her ashes are scattered in the Garden of Remembrance at the Borough Cemetery.

Biography written by Ann Harrison (nee King).

(With thanks to Culture Vannin as publishers of the book: Kelly, Dollin (general editor), ‘New Manx Worthies’, Manx Heritage Foundation/Culture Vannin, 2006, pp.415-6.)

Culture Vannin


Gender: Female

Date of birth: 3 December 1924

Date of death: 23 January 1994

Name Variant: Robinson, Mildred Jessie 'Millie'


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