The family of Robert Wilson who passed away at the age of 90 has described him as a man who “remained young at heart”.

Robert who lived his whole life in the Florencecourt area was well known throughout the county and beyond for his band ‘Robert Wilson and the Rhythm Sparks’.

Robert was the youngest child of William and Nellie Wilson, growing up on a farm at Drumsrooshill, Florencecourt, having two brothers and three sisters. He was the last surviving member of his family.

Following his education, Robert worked on Cathcart’s lorry, delivering goods around the Fermanagh countryside. He then took the initiative to set up his own mobile drapery business which he carried out for many years, getting to know his customers over a wide area.

In the latter years of his working life, Robert worked at the National Trust shop at Florence Court House and also in Cathcart’s Shop, Bellanaleck.

“Being able to interact with the public was one of Robert’s great strengths and one he also put to good use when he and his wife, Muriel took over the Five Points Post Office in the 1960’s,” said a family spokesperson.

“While Muriel was the Postmistress, Robert took on a great support role. They continued to run the rural Post Office until Muriel retired in 2000.

He married Muriel Vance in 1955 and they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Melanie in 1957.

Further joy was to come with the birth of their grandchildren, Natalie in 1988 and Ashley in 1994, daughter and son of Melanie and Trevor. Robert was also delighted to be able to have his great grand-daughters, Emma and Robyn spend time with him especially in the dark years that followed the death of Muriel in 2013 which left a great void in his life.

After his family, music was his next devotion.

“He devoted his life to Muriel and his family.

“Of course everyone who knew Robert also understood his passion for music, an interest going back to his youth. He bought his famous piano accordion in 1955 for a not inconsiderate sum of £127 in those days. In all those years since, Robert has been entertaining groups far and wide.

“While Robert and Muriel were great dancers, Robert was keen to help provide the music for others to dance to.”

Although he finished playing with his band in 1991 he was still in high demand and until recently he played his accordion in residential homes where he brought smiles to the faces of those he entertained.

Setting up his band in 1952, booking was not as straightforward as it is today. With phones not as common as they are now, people would write to Robert for book him for gigs. And with cars also being a relative luxury, a vehicle would be hired for the night in the band’s early days.

He greatly enjoyed the showbands era, and as well as his own band he played with numerous other bands on the circuit including “The Starlight Dance Band,” “Melody Makers” and “Red Sunbeam”.

Robert also gave great service to Druminiskill Church and St. John’s Florencecourt where he was organist for 50 years and 47 years respectively until he retired in 2018.

“Outside family, music and church, Robert had plenty of other interests too with his love of sport extending to watching football and his beloved Manchester United, boxing and he was an active playing member of Enniskillen Outdoor Bowling Club for almost 50 years and was overwhelmed when he was made an honorary member.”

Despite his advancing years Robert continued to portray his great sense of humour and showing that he was still young at heart he would have said: “I never really grew up!”

Robert’s funeral was held in St. John’s Church, Florencecourt on Sunday, August 4 with burial in the adjoining Churchyard.

At the funeral, the service ended with the choir singing a harvest hymn composed by Robert a few years ago, a fitting tribute and farewell to the much loved and respected man.

“Of course everyone who knew Robert also understood his passion for music, an interest going back to his youth. He bought his famous piano accordion in 1955