Firefighters from across the west recently farewelled one of their own, Newport station leading firefighter Simon Robin, who died from motor neurone disease. He was 51.
Mr Robin, who was born and raised in Williamstown, was farewelled by a full fire brigade turnout, which formed a guard of honour before placing his coffin atop a vintage fire truck.
He joined the fire brigade in 1988 and spent 27 years serving Melbourne’s west.
Mr Robin was also well known in the area through his home alarm installation business, Maximum Security, which he started after his parents’ home was broken into and the intruder cut off his father’s finger.
His partner, Marisa Manes, requested donations to the Motor Neurone Disease Association of Victoria in lieu of flowers, and she plans to raise awareness of the incurable illness.
“He’d do jobs for pensioners and wouldn’t take money,” Ms Manes said. “He helped people. He went from being a hard-working, around-the-clock one-man-show, plus the fire brigade, to just not returning calls to people and having no zest for life – that was the illness.
“Apart from the body changes, a lot of motor neurone sufferers lose the use of their legs or arms, but with Simon it was his throat. He lost his voice, couldn’t speak or swallow.
“He also had frontal temporal dementia. There are no facilities for younger people with dementia, so we ended up in an old-age facility.”
Ms Manes said Mr Robin would be remembered as “a wonderful, kind, generous, hard-working local hero”. He is survived by his son Luke, mother Wilma, sister Suzanne, brother Scot and stepchildren Evan and Angelea.