OLD friends are mourning one of the Adver’s biggest newsroom characters.

Former business editor and motoring writer Leigh Robinson, who joined the staff in 1997, was known for his sharp sense of humour, quick wit and great charm. A larger-than-life personality, he took great delight in teasing workmates who loved him for it.

The paper’s ex-managing editor Pauline Leighton said: “Leigh was a great ambassador for the Adver both in the business and motoring worlds. His quick wit, sharp sense of humour, gentlemanly demeanour and superb dress sense made him the perfect Newspaper Man About Town. I am saddened by his passing and remember him very fondly for the irrepressible chap he was.”

Michelle Carter, who was deputy editor, worked with him for 20 years and said he became a dear friend. “Quick-witted, forthright, sometimes grumpy… he wasn’t one to suffer fools," she said. "Woe betide anyone who didn’t meet his expectations. But behind the quips and loud expletives was a kind and caring man who brought a smile to everyone’s face, loved his family deeply and was genuinely invested in his friends.

"Anyone who knew him well can’t help but think of him and smile."

Another colleague, Gill Harris said: "Like most people who knew Robbo, there are just too many stories to tell and most of them are rude! One of my favourites, though, was the time he rang me from Heathrow Airport. He was off on his holidays, I was in the newsroom and there was no need for him to be calling me whatsoever. Except his nickname for me was Bomber (after Bomber Harris) and obviously the temptation to stand in the middle of Heathrow Airport and bellow down the phone, 'Is that you, Bomber?' was irresistible to his sense of mischief."

Former assistant editor Steve Webb recalled Robbo's unlikely success as the Adver's director of football. "The 'appointment' was probably made as a joke by colleagues, as what Robbo knew about football could be written on the back of a postage stamp," he said.

But the team went on to win a Newsquest-wide tournament and he became something of an ambassador for them.

"He was also in many ways an ambassador for the Adver, with his social skills used to great effect at various civic, business or charity functions at which he'd represent the newspaper. He could charm the pants off anyone and if there was an OBE for schmoozing, Robbo would have received one."

Photographer Stuart Harrison described the result of failing to photograph the planet Mars during one evening shift assignment. He came in the next day to find an expertly designed poster of Swindon on his desk with a Mars bar taped to it and a rude message.

"Outside of the office Robbo was a gentleman especially around the golf course where he expertly found himself at the top of any leader board.

"He will be missed by everybody that had the pleasure to know him. A total professional within the newspaper world."

Adver sales manager Sindy Fasulo added: "Working with Leigh was always a pleasure, his knowledge of cars made our job a lot easier. We will miss his unique sense of humour."

On Facebook friends, contacts and colleagues lined up to pay tribute, among them Ben Foulds who said: “Whenever Leigh’s name was down on a launch guest list you knew there was lots of fun to be had.”

The Western Group of Motoring Writers said: “Will be missing the dry humour and always enjoyed Leigh’s company and one of the snappiest dressers.”

And Paul Ormond added: “Leigh and I had a great relationship. He always wrote balanced stories whether it was good or bad news at HUM. He loved life and was a great journalist and a true gentleman.”

He is much loved and missed by his 'two girls' - his partner Lisbeth and daughter Julia.