Robin has dedicated his life to providing homes for the most vulnerable in our society. Robin has swum the English channel. He's re established the Cross Mersey Swim. He,'s lobbyed successfully for the City of Liverpool to officially recognise John Hulley as a son of the city.
Robin Spencer Baynes was born on 14th September 1945 and was the first child born to Jess and Alfred 'Spen' Baynes, 'Spen' had been a Chief Stoker in the Royal Navy, whilst Jess's war efforts saw her working as a WREN in the Western Approaches, the secret underground command centre in Liverpool City Centre, His younger brother Allen was born six years later.
Throughout his childhood Robin lived in Makin Street. Walton and attended Arnott Street School, where he was more interested in swimming than academics, and so good was he at his favourite school activity that by the time he was 14 years old he was a regional schoolboy champion and swimming at national level at the butterfly stroke, In the late 1980's Robin would join the City of Liverpool Swimming Club and swim at a competitive level in the 'Masters Section' for the next fifteen years. He would also get to swim the River Mersey and English Channel as part of relay teams raising money for whoever he was trying to raise funds for at the time.
It was through his schoolboy swimming exploits that Robin struck up a friendship with Kenny O'Toole who was to become a life-long friend. Sadly, Kenny would pass away suddenly in 2001 causing Robin great sadness and was a focus for much of his charity work for some time.
At the age of 15 Robin left Arnott Street and was given a job by his dad at Unit Construction. As an apprentice joiner, working for £2 for a 60-hour week and having to hang 60 fire-check doors in order to gain a £1.25 bonus, Robin attended Kirkby College and it was here that he met fellow 'Teddy Boy', Ray Parr, another who was to become a lifelong friend. Shortly after leaving college Robin moved to Kirkby and it was there that he met his future bride Brenda Hewitt. It wasn't long before love bloomed between them and the happy couple tied the knot on the 21st March 1964. They were both just 18 years old when they married and they are still going strong today.
The next big event in Robin's life was fatherhood. In 1964 along came Stephen, Neil followed in 1968 and Nicola became their sister when arriving into the world in 1969. During the early years of their marriage Robin and Brenda moved the family house on several occasions, with St. Domingo Grove, Anfield, Rydal Street, and Clovelly Road all being their home before the family moved out to the countryside of Formby in 1979. A few years prior to this move Robin met his business partner Norman Ritson and together they worked hard to achieve success and develop a business that would secure futures for themselves and for their respective families.
It was following the sad loss of Brenda's sister, Barbara in 1993, that Robin decided he, Bob Jones, and many of his other friends, and also in conjunction with North West Water, Robin was able to organise a series of sponsored events that ensured he managed to exceed his original target and within four years was able to make a donation to the Royal Liverpool Hospital for the grand sum of £30,000.
Robin then turned his attention back to his work and with the help of his family set the foundations for a new social enterprise, 'New Start'. Robin's idea was to provide housing and support for vulnerable adults with little or no housing choice, with the hope that he could give people who had experienced difficulties in their lives a safe place to live. Through hard work and perseverance this project has bloomed into a large social care organisation that now provides housing and support for over 400 vulnerable men, women and families across Merseyside. In 2005, the efforts of Robin and his family were recognised when New Start was awarded 'Family Business of the Year in the 'Contribution to the Community' category at a black tie dinner event held at St. George's Hall in Liverpool.
On the sudden death of Kenny O'Toole, Robin decided he would like to fundraise for the British Heart Foundation and together with Jimmy Tinsley and Bob Jones, put together and organised a team that would swim from Scotland to Ireland. The swim was a great success; the team beat the existing record time which had been held by a group of American's and managed to raise £lOk for the British Heart Foundation.
Robin's work in the community led him to join the West Derby Rotary Club around 2003, he was elected as the Chairman in 2006 and in 2007 Robin was honoured with the 'Rotarian Paul Harris Fellow Award' in appreciation of 'tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relation among people of the world'.
Through the instigation of 'Liverpool Heartbeat', Robin brought the David Graham High School Programme to Merseyside. This is an interactive show that uses music and sport to promote anti-crime, good citizenship and healthy lifestyles to over 30,000 local children and also children in schools across the country.
In 2007, Robin had a setback of his own when, he was diagnosed with cancer, the operation was to force him to slow down. However, Robin returned to being as active as ever and continues his community and charity work tirelessly.
Brenda and Robin
Robin and Mum
Kenny and Robin