SIR: The article by Roger Lewis about Christopher Robin (September issue) includes many oft-repeated facts about elements of unhappiness within the Milne family. I was fortunate enough to know Christopher – a charming and immensely modest man – well for some 25 years before his death in 1996; and his wife and daughter for a good many years after that. As his representative, I also served for some 40 years on the Pooh Properties Trust, which administered the exploitation of the rights in A A Milne’s children’s books.
Alan Milne was clearly immensely fond and proud of his son, but I am not sure he was ‘besotted’ nor that he and his wife spoiled their child any more than other successful parents of his era spoiled their children.
Christopher also became a fine writer, particularly when writing about his daughter or about his love of nature, and his books should be read. He and his wife, Lesley, each worked part of every day in their bookshop while the other stayed at home and cared for Clare who was severely handicapped.
Most of their lives they had lived very modestly indeed but, after his mother’s death in 1971, Christopher began to receive, under his father’s will, a share of the Pooh royalties and he gave one half of this share to Clare and sold the other half at a deep discount to a charity that was a beneficiary under his father’s will.
From the early eighties, the royalties grew rapidly and, in about 2000, they enjoyed a windfall. Clare’s share was, at the request of Lesley, divided, first towards establishing her in her own home after years in an institution and then setting up a new charity in her name (with Lesley as president until I succeeded her after her death) to help disabled persons in Devon and Cornwall. When Clare died in 2012, part of her share went to the same charity, the Clare Milne Trust, which has given nearly £7 million to help disabled people.
I humbly suggest that this great legacy should be trumpeted and any human frailties of past generations should now be put away and forgotten. Michael Brown, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire
‘I’ve just seen a meme of a bloke that looks just like you’