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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Taxis line up for fitting tribute to ‘true gentleman’ Barrow driver Wilf

SCORES of taxis lined the route to a cemetery as a mark of respect to a “true gentleman” Barrow taxi driver.

Wilf Roberts, a popular and well-known taxi driver of more than 30 years, died on April 4 at Furness General Hospital.

The 69-year-old, of Tyne Road, Walney, worked for Avon Cars, and he had also previously owned the business. He was a friend to local taxi firms as he had supplied aerials and meters.

As the funeral cortege made its way to Thorncliffe Crematorium on Monday morning it passed lines of taxis from Avon Cars, Walney, and other Barrow firms which parked on both sides of Cemetery Hill, and also inside the cemetery gates.

There was also a poignant taxi sign floral tribute from the family on Mr Roberts’s coffin.

So many people turned out for the service that they also filled the foyer and stood outside to pay their respects.

Mr Roberts was born and bred on Walney. He worked as a coalman, a “bouncer” at the then Public Hall, a rigger and slinger in the Vickers shipyard before joining the taxi industry.

He married, moved on to Barrow Island and had two sons, Mark and Lee.

In the late 1990s he moved back to the house where he grew up on Walney, with his new partner Linda.

On behalf of the family, Mark and Lee Roberts paid tribute, saying: “We were not a well-off family, but we never wanted for anything when growing up. If Mam and Dad got a hint of something we wanted, sure enough next birthday it appeared. They worked really hard to provide for us. Later in life they always fully supported and helped us in everything we did. We know he was immensely proud when he became a devoted granddad to Lillie and Adam. We feel very lucky to have such wonderful parents, and we will miss Dad enormously.

“The line-up of taxis and the number of people who were at the crematorium on Monday gave us a hint of how his friends, workmates, colleagues and customers thought of him, as did the numerous kind Facebook comments, messages and cards. The theme that ran through these was a man described as a “true gentleman” and a man who would help friends, even strangers, if he possibly could. His sudden passing was a real shock to everyone.”

Peter Sayle, the owner of Avon Cars, who worked with Mr Roberts for 20 years and knew him for more, said: “Wilf will be very sadly missed. I’ll remember him like everyone else, he was a top, top man who would do anything for you, he would always help others.”

Mr Sayle said many messages of condolence had come to Avon from customers.

Have your say

This was a fitting tribute to a lovely man. Very nicely done Evening Mail. Thank you. Both Mark and Lee smiled when reading it and we all agreed it was just right.

Posted by Karen McVea-Roberts on 17 April 2014 at 10:44

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