Originators of UK closed road motorsport

Trevor Roberts Eulogy

Stephen Dugdale at Trevor’s Funeral

Good afternoon! Here are some of the memories I have of Trevor over the 60 years of our friendship – they may have inaccuracies, due to the passage of time, and my failing memory, for which I apologise in advance.

John Trevor Roberts was born on the 21st April 1932 in Burnley the son of Stan and Marion Roberts and he, together with his sister Brenda lived there until the end of the Second World War. After peace was declared the family, minus Trevor, went over to Wilhelmshaven in Germany as Stan was in The Military Police as part of the army of occupation. Trevor stayed in this country, with his grandparents for one year to finish school before joining his family. He and Brenda then went to the British Forces Prince Rupert School to complete their education, as coincidentally did three of my cousins. They played with German children and Trevor could still speak German and used it to good effect on our various holidays in Europe. He and Brenda still kept in touch with fellow students and they attended reunions, together with the dutiful Ann, every year without fail. Ann did have an ally with Brenda’s husband Dennis until he tragically died many years ago.
On return to the UK Trevor undertook National Service with what is now The Queens Lancashire Regiment based in Lancaster. He was promoted to Sergeant, unusual in national servicemen, and was by his own admission a very strict disciplinarian. He was very proud of the regiment all through his life.

One of his first jobs was collecting eggs for Sutcliffe’s of Burnley which he got from various farms in the area. He vividly remembered the vans and trucks he drove at that time.
However, his first love was cars and he started work for Hattons of Burnley and rose through the ranks of the sales team there.

In 1959 he applied for a job as Sales Manager, subsequently Director with W. and F. Dawson at Primrose Garage in Clitheroe and spent the rest of his working life with the company. He was totally committed to Primrose and the Dawson family. He still organised an annual gathering of past employees, the last one in January of this year.

In March of 1982 Ann and Trevor were married, albeit after a very long courtship and this reticence carried forward to the wedding. As the ceremony was about to start he found that he had forgotten Ann’s wedding ring and I was despatched to look for it in his sock drawer back at Brook Villas. At the same time Wayne, who was driving Ann was told to drive round the block once more until I returned with the said ring. Needless to say they were “Happy ever after”.

Today we are saying goodbye to one of the world’s greatest enthusiasts – everything Trevor did was with 110% commitment and I will review just a few.

He sold Austin and Morris cars with Primrose, including the iconic Mini, with great success to many people in this area and beyond. There were very few car owners in the Ribble Valley Trevor did not know. Even when the company became British Leyland and the cars were not always the most reliable or popular he continued to sell cars to loyal customers. He sold cars to me for our representatives from A35 vans, through to Morris Marinas, the latter being a great test of our friendship.

His second enthusiasm was sailing, which he adored and he had at times boats on Burwaines Reservoir and latterly Lake Windermere. He was a past Commodore of Windermere Cruising Association and sailed in the very cold winter series until not many years ago.

Ann and Trevor still have a caravan in Abersoch and he used to take a dinghy down there for a number of years.

His next enthusiasm involved yet again cars and was rallying. In the 1960’s we used to charge around local roads with great bravado without any such thing as roll cages and sump guards etc. What was known as plot and bash, with a fair bit of the latter. A lot of the cars used then were the same ones that took us to work on a Monday morning. Trevor had great success over many years competing in events from Wales to the Isle of Mull. By now the cars were more specialised and some of you will have seen the famous Mini Cooper S 24 FTE that led Trevor to his committal earlier today and is parked outside. That was his last rally car and had many an adventure, especially on Mull where he and the late Roy Honeywell and Ian Grindrod had various excursions into the heather. This car has been in storage for many years and recently Mini Sport brought it back to life and resprayed it with Trevor’s name on the side and his various navigators on the passenger side. He was surprised only a few weeks ago when it was secretly brought back home and was in his garage when he passed away. One of his early navigators was Steph Mason who now resides in South Africa and Trevor and Ann visited Steph and Fred, her late husband, a number of times over the years.

Linked to this enthusiasm we come to Clitheroe and District Motor Club, of which he was the last surviving founder member, I joined a year later. Trevor was CDMC from the start until his death he was totally committed to the club and the furtherance of Motor Sport.
He was Chairman for too many years to remember, from its start at The Starkie Arms, via the Brown Cow and the Pendle Hotel in Chatburn to the Low Moor Club and finally to its current home in Waddington Village Club. He steered the club though some difficult years and some better ones with total dedication.

He followed the late Roy Honeywell as President of the club and attended meetings with great regularity until Covid struck earlier this year. His guidance and wisdom will be greatly missed. He was Clitheroe Motor Club but he leaves it in very good hands with the club going from strength to strength.

He was also a member of the 2300 Club and still attended their monthly meetings.
His next enthusiasm was with the various Service Clubs in Clitheroe. Firstly he joined Clitheroe Round Table until he, like us all, had to retire due to reaching 40years of age. On leaving Table he joined 41 Club and enjoyed the social events over many years. The last time Trevor, Ann, Sue and I were away was last March at a 41 Club weekend in the North East only the week before lockdown, little did any of us know what was to come.
Trevor and I joined Clitheroe Rotary Club in 1983 and before very long Trevor was President of the club and I followed three years later.

He was a dedicated Rotarian and was always involved in whatever the club were doing right up to the lockdown, collecting at Sainsburys only last December. He was the driver of “Youth Speaks” and has run it since its inception. He held local heats to find both winners of juniors and seniors and always took the teams to the District finals in Windermere each autumn. Again he took the teams a year ago and was a great advocate for this part of Rotary’s youth programme. He was Youth Speaks so far as Clitheroe was concerned.
Both Ann and Trevor helped form Pendle View Rotary Club and devoted a great deal of time supporting the membership. They awarded Trevor a sapphire pin in addition to his Paul Harris Fellowship already awarded by the Clitheroe Club. This is the highest award given in Rotary.

Three or four years ago I took Trevor, my Uncle Billy Dugdale and the Late Jim Parker, who only died three weeks ago, aged 99 and three quarters to Rotary Meetings. Now it’s down to one!

His next enthusiasm was the Charity Crossroads Ribble Valley where he supported Ann and helped as a member of the fund raising committee for many years. Only two months ago he was pushing fliers though West Bradford letterboxes asking for support for a virtual Balloon Race, which raised vital funds. He ran the bar at the Village Hall at Crossroads annual Quiz night for many years only stopping when the village hall took over the running of the bar last year.

His next enthusiasm was for football. His first affiliations were for Burnley who he supported for many years having been friends with some of the players, however, his loyalty changed, possibly with help from Bob Lord and he joined me at Ewood Park supporting Blackburn Rovers. I and our family together with Tom Rylance had been going for many years when Trevor took over one of the seats. As with everything Trevor did he was a very keen supporter and any talk of us not renewing our season tickets was quickly banished by Trevor. He read everything he could about the Rovers and listened to all the away match commentaries on the radio. He shamed me as I sometimes was not as up to date with events which he couldn’t understand.

His next enthusiasm was for the family, his sister Brenda, her late husband Dennis and their daughters Katy and Suzie together with their families, Wayne and Bernie, Joe and Toby. Bernie’s father George, who passed away very recently, being part of the extended family. I am not quite sure that Trevor did not still think that Wayne was “that boy” even though he is in his fifties.

Now for his last and greatest enthusiasm, his devoted wife Ann whom he worshiped and loved beyond measure.

They were inseparable and her devotion to Trevor especially in these last few months was beyond imagination. Together with Wayne, and with help from neighbour Joan Willock they made sure that Trevor’s last weeks were as comfortable as possible in their home in Brook Villas here in West Bradford.

Over the sixty years we had known each other we have been on numerous holidays to many places, both before and after our respective marriages. We have had a great deal of fun together with our family and we will look back on these times together with great fondness and affection. We will all look after Ann, which is what he wanted, and we are all better from having known Trevor.

Ann and Trevor have worshipped here at St. Catherine’s for many years and they have supported both the church and the village in all ways possible. I am sure the community will be a support to Ann in these difficult times. Until Covid struck they organised the seniors lunch in the village hall again something they both undertook with great enthusiasm.

He was my best man, on our marriage and I was his on Ann and Trevor’s wedding a few years later.

I am sure you will all agree “He was the best of men and may he now rest in Peace”

God Bless Trevor!

Stephen Dugdale September 2020

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