Obituary: Robert Byrne

Robert Byrne
(OC 1997-2004)

Born 29 November 1985, died April 2020, aged 34

It is with deepest sadness that we write to inform you all that at the end of April 2020, our dear friend and Old Cat Rob Byrne took his own life, at the age of just 34. It has come as a huge shock to his family, friends and all who knew and loved him.

Rob was one of the best friends any of us could have asked for. He lived life to the full, always the joker and the life and soul of the party for so many years. His laugh and jovial demeanour were infectious, it was impossible not to like him. We are sure there are many of you who will remember him from his time at Caterham School in this way.

With such a big and cheeky personality, it was perhaps inevitable that Rob would get himself into some trouble from time to time! One of our favourite memories of him from school is our last ever Caterham Sports Day in Sixth Form with Rob flying down the final 100m straight on Home Field, long limbs flailing behind him, when he proceeded to reduce his shorts to his ankles as he crossed the finish line flashing a pale backside to the hundreds of startled onlookers. Losing his A Level study leave as punishment was of little consequence as he basked in the glory of a classic Rob prank.

Although Rob never lost his mischievous edge, it was clear that beneath that playful exterior there was a determined and highly driven individual. In August 2007 he secured his degree from Cardiff University in Business Management and very quickly muscled his way into a lucrative options trading job. As we write this, we realise that not only was Rob’s sense of fun infectious but also his drive for success. It’s no coincidence that many of our friendship group chose similar career paths to Rob; he blazed the trail.

In 2011 Rob joined Clarksons shipbrokers to start their freight options broking desk.  At the age of 24, he was in the challenging position of being a new face in an already established sector, but after a couple of painstakingly hard years of building relationships the market began to take notice of his unique talent. It wasn’t long before he became the most prolific options broker in the market and if an options deal was concluded, you could be sure than Rob had either done it himself or had something to do with it.

In under 10 years, Rob went from new starter to Director, described by his former boss as ‘without equal’. His rise to the top was fast and relentless, and once he was put in charge of his team, they united under his leadership becoming number one in the world.  This was recognised last year by the New York Stock Exchange, where Rob was invited to ring the iconic Nasdaq closing bell which was beamed across Times Square before a global audience.  We believe this was his proudest moment.

Rob was a strong and proud man and none of us knew the extent of the battle he was struggling with internally. Mental health issues are the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. Most of these men, like Rob, suffer in silence and it was one of Rob’s last wishes to ensure that other young men don’t find themselves in a similar situation to him.

Rob’s family have set up a memory space with the charity MIND, should you wish to make a donation to the charity in Rob’s memory you can do so at this website:

Written by fellow Old Cats Ben Woods, James Cox, Paul Rawden, Fred Mack and Mike Pearson