ROB ARCHER   1949 - 2022

It was with great sadness that we lost a Riding Mill legend in 2022:  Rob Archer, chairman of RMTC and one of Riding Mill’s most popular residents.

Rob and his wife Linda moved here from the coast in 2010, mainly because they wanted to settle in a small community where they could make a big contribution. Few people have done as much as Rob to make Riding Mill the vibrant place it is today.

Anyone who ventured into the organised chaos of Rob’s workshop will have seen evidence of his many interests which included electronics, woodwork, sport, painting and technology. Every organisation he joined benefitted from the skills he developed through those hobbies, as well as his professional expertise as a builder and as a technology teacher.

Soon after settling here, Rob took over the organisation of Riding Mill Golf Society. He also became a sideman at St James’s Church and was Assistant Chair of Governors at Broomhaugh First School. He oversaw the refurbishment of Church Cottage, organised countless events, and used his skills as a builder and computer expert wherever they were needed. Patios, fencing, painting, consulting and negotiating - there was never a job that was too much for Rob.

His greatest passion, apart from his family, was Riding Mill Tennis Club. When Rob joined, the courts were falling into total disrepair and membership was falling. Occasionally, he was the only person to turn up for social play so he ended up in ferocious rallies with the ball machine.

Rob transformed the club and brought it into the 21st century. He galvanised the committee and tirelessly raised money to pay for and maintain new courts. Today RMTC combines ambitious teams with a reputation for being a truly family friendly club.

He believed tennis should first and foremost be good fun. He had a great sense of humour and welcomed everyone to the club. But beneath his benign, affable exterior lurked a serious competitor. Woe betide anyone on the receiving end of his smashes, and few could return his dreaded sliced serve. Rob was famed for his left hand switch, a rare feat in which he flicked his racket from his right hand to his left to return an otherwise sure winner flying down the line. While the opposition shook their heads in disbelief, Rob always had a little chuckle of pure pleasure whenever he hit a real winner.

Over the years, he took on just about every role that was needed. Latterly he was the Club Chair. He had demoted himself from 1st team captain so that he could tackle another big challenge, developing a successful 2nd team.

In his workshop hangs Rob’s Service to Sport “Unsung Hero” award presented by Sport Tynedale in 2015. This was followed by a series of awards. They included two from LTA Northumberland in 2019 -  Certificate of Achievement for the Gordon Brewis Service to Tennis Award and RMTC won the Club of the Year award.

Rob was born in Birmingham in 1949, the eldest of four children, and the family moved to Newcastle when he was 10. He attended St Aloysius School, then left to start working in the building trade. He quickly set up his own company, Archer Construction, but despite being very successful he decided on a career change.

He was always fascinated by technology and in his 30s he studied at Northumbria University and became a technology teacher, eventually managing the internal computing network, resources and staff learning technologies at formerly North Tyneside College of Further Education then Tyne Metropolitan College.

By now, Rob was married with 4 boys and he was a true family man. At home and at work he was known for always remaining calm in a crisis. He was very determined but had a reputation for being sociable and easy-going. No one ever heard him raise his voice regardless of what was happening around him.

In 2008 the college was restructured and he chose to return to building, running his own company despite several attempts to retire. He transformed the interior of his own house (the cerise bathroom was first to go) and rebuilt another home for one of his sons, keeping track of his many projects with countless spreadsheets. He had a spreadsheet for absolutely everything.

At home, at work and with friends, he was known for always remaining calm in a crisis. No one ever heard him raise his voice regardless of what was happening around him. He was always there to help, support and guide with a strength and sense of humour which will be missed by all who knew him.

He is survived by Linda, sons Andrew, Michael, Christopher and Matthew  and 9 grandchildren, Jack, Chloe, Reece, George, Sam, Charlie, Grace, Thomas and Ruby.