We are so sorry to learn of the passing of Robin Murray. As one of the founders of Twin and Twin Trading in 1985, and as chair and board member for many years, his influence on the organisation and its wider network has been immense and unparalleled. Robin championed farmers and cooperatives and was crucial to the successful launch and running of Cafédirect, Divine, Liberation and Agrofair in the UK. He regarded these organisations, with great pride, as embodiments of the economic principles he pioneered.
Robin combined a positive outlook with boundless energy and curiosity. He was truly an innovative thinker, who brought a stream of fresh ideas as well as visitors to Twin’s London office. It was a pleasure for members of staff to discuss our ideas and work with Robin and to read his many well-informed strategic papers, knowing that he was backing us 100 per cent.
Robin will be missed. He was among the best people you could hope to meet in life and it was a delight and a privilege to work with him. Robin would take time to listen to everyone; he was supportive, inspiring and great fun. His eyes shone with intelligence and his enthusiasm and sense of possibility were infectious, even in the face of challenges. A whole generation of us at Twin feel indebted to Robin as one of our ‘elders’ and we are grateful to have worked alongside him.
Our thoughts are with his family, and all who will miss a loved and valued colleague and friend.
By Rachel Wallace
Reflections from a few of the Twin family:
From Albert Tucker:
“We have an option, we can either try to change a system by fighting it from within, or like the Franciscan monks we can go outside of the system and create a new order (system)”. Robin’s advice to me about how to approach social systems.
I learnt a huge amount from Robin. In our time together in Twin he helped us to build the space and intellectual framework to innovate in co-operation with producers as equal partners and to have the ambition to try and change the world for the better, building on our trading relationships and learning from his wide knowledge base and network of thinkers. He was a deep thinker and one of the sharpest and most inquisitive people I have come across. He was great with words that articulated complex and new ideas. I always thought that he spoke in perfectly formed sentences. Robin was a lovely man who always wanted his friends and colleagues to feel loved and to work happily together. He was a committed collaborator and champion of co-operation. His openness, generosity and innovative voice will be greatly missed. This is the end of an era.
From Richard Hide:
Robin was someone we could always count on when it mattered most. His commitment to Twin and our deep values was unwavering over more than 30 years. He was a great advocate for our work to change the balance of power in supply chains in favour of producers through practical means, especially through knowledge, skills and organisation - in the process engaging and empowering both farmers and consumers - and everyone in between. So his legacy will be in the lives of many, many people across the world - far beyond those of us who had the privilege of knowing him.
From Rebecca Morahan:
When I learned of Robin’s passing my overwhelming feeling, aside from sadness, was of gratitude to have known him and for my experiences at Twin which I would not have had had it not been for his and Michael’s vision and continued engagement. My experience of him was as a great supporter of individuals, always very engaged and warm in conversation and encouraging any creative endeavour with great enthusiasm. I take inspiration from how fully he lived, having fun with a serious purpose and maintaining lightness and positivity in the face of challenges.
From Duncan White:
I was privileged to work closely with Robin on a number of projects during my time at Twin and experienced what a truly remarkable and positive person he was. Robin was highly intelligent and innovative, finding ways through complex problems - and also courageous and strong - never shying away from difficult challenges if he believed in them. Uniquely though Robin brought a true love and warmth to all he did - something missing from so much of the world today - but always present with Robin. This was consistent with his unwavering focus on changing the world for the better - not only in the field of trade justice - but also the many other areas that he was involved. Robin was truly inspirational to me and I know to many others and I will miss him greatly.
From Simon Billing:
Robin was an intellectual heavyweight with such a clear sense of purpose and values driving through all that he did in Twin. Robin was up for doing things differently and he touched a lot of us with his energy, vision and purpose.
From Jess Eugene:
Sad news to hear of Robin’s passing. A truly inspirational gentleman. I will remember him with fondness as it was a pleasure knowing him.
From Charlotte Jarman:
He was the very definition of a decent man, who not only cared passionately about fair trade but also took a genuine interest in the well-being of Twin's staff.
From Margaret Rooke:
I remember Robin as a man full of life, inspiration and ideas; always positive; always welcoming; with a warmth that showed even in his handshake.
From Sally Smith:
I first met Robin about 15 years ago, at a Cafedirect AGM. On that occasion, and every meeting since, he radiated warmth, positivity and passion for social justice. He was particularly interested to hear I worked at IDS, as he'd been a fellow there for many years, during a period when there was a great deal of intellectual debate regarding the meaning and pathways of development. I guess Twin was partly a product of that debate, and I'm sure his contribution - both intellectual and spiritual - will be sorely missed.
From John Weaver: