Evening Standard: 19/09/2001
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- Evening Standard: This Is How I Want To Remember My Lovely Robert: THE VICTIMS
- Evening Standard, The (London, England) - September 19, 2001
- Author/Byline: DANIELLE GUSMAROLI
- Page: 3
- WHEN Robert Eaton and his bride, Jacqui, went up the aisle eight years ago a bright future lay ahead. The former St Paul's chorister had left Britain for New York and had become a rising star in the tough world of international finance.
- But today Jacqui waits griefstricken for news of her husband, missing since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center last Tuesday.
- He was a merchant banker for finance firm, Cantor Fitzgerald, on the 105th floor of the north tower, when the first hijacked jet slammed into it.
- The 37-year-old is one of more than 5,000 missing in the wreckage and a week after the attack his parents in Britain have finally come to accept they will never see him again.
- 'This is my Robert,' said his mother, Laura Eaton, pointing to his picture.
- 'This is how I want to remember him. He had such a lovely smile.' Her voice cracking, she breaks down in tears.
- Watching the news of the attacks live on television she had immediately pressed the button on her telephone that dialled his direct line. After the third ring the line went dead.
- Originally from Brighton, Robert sold his one-bedroom bachelor flat in Battersea 10 years ago to pursue his dream in the US.
- He had been selling bonds at brokers Garban in London and transferred for a brief spell to the firm's New York offices. His talent was recognised and rewarded by the firm but in no time he was headhunted by Cantor Fitzgerald - one of the world's largest financial companies. He rose rapidly into the higher echelons of New York's financial world.
- While there he met and married Jacqui, an American. The couple, who lived in Long Island, never had children.
- 'She is so distressed I can hardly make out what she is saying,' said Mrs Eaton, a former singing teacher. 'Like all of us, she hates to think of him and all those people desperately trying to get out.'
- Last Friday Mr and Mrs Eaton travelled from their home in Ditchling, Sussex, with the rest of their family to attended the memorial service at St Paul's in honour of the victims.
- For his family it brought back poignant memories of the times Robert had sung there, his 'beautiful' treble voice filling the great building.
- From the age of nine to 13 he boarded at St Paul's Cathedral Choir School.
- By 10 he could read music by sight and was singing twice a day, six days a week in the choir. In 1977 he sang at the special service marking the Queen's Silver Jubilee.
- Later he won a scholarship to Brighton College, where he learned to play the cello, joined the Brighton Youth Orchestra and toured with them in Canada and Europe. His voice can still be heard on the CD, Royal Music From St Paul's, which his parents feel is a fitting and lasting tribute to him.
- His former choir master, Barry Rose, 67, said: 'Robert always had an answer for everything, which is why I liked him so much. If you told him off for not doing well enough he would shout back 'I am doing my best'.
- He was very spirited and had enormous personality. He stood out from the rest, had get up and go, was confident and always laughing.
- 'His voice was so stunning we would send him up to the Whispering Gallery, which is very high up, just to hear him sing. I am not surprised he went on to do so well in commerce as a banker.
- 'I always thought about looking him up. Now all I have is the CD, but I shall always hear his voice now even though I never saw him again.'
- Choking back tears, Robert's father, Douglas, 78, said: 'He was kind, funny, always willing to help; one of those people you instantly liked.
- 'We have been overwhelmed with telephone calls and visits from his friends.
- They tell us stories about his kindness. That makes it all the more difficult.
- 'We don't know what happened to him that day. No one knows. Probably no one will. A friend who knows the building well rang us and said realistically there is no chance he could have survived.'
- Fans at Brighton and Hove Albion FC, Robert's favourite team, are planning to unfurl a giant flag in his honour on Saturday. He attended games whenever he returned from the States. 'It is a very nice gesture,' said Mr Eaton. 'He would be very shocked, but proud to have a tribute to him at the ground.'
- Robert's best friend at school, Craig McLeish, now a 37-yearold musician from Hertfordshire, added 'He had a better voice than Aled Jones, he was so talented. He was suave and had a swagger about him. You could tell he would be brilliant at everything he did.
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