Bishop Auckland-born entertainer Bob Roberts, who first found prominence as a singer on the club and cabaret scene in his native north-east, died suddenly while out playing golf in the Tom O’Connor charity event at Alvaston Hall, Cheshire, on June 18.
A large number of Roberts’ vast circle of friends and business associates have expressed their shock at the sudden and unexpected nature of his death, which was caused by heart failure.
Born Robert Gittens on July 15, 1953, Bob left school and found a position in the Inland Revenue. Almost immediately he began as a part-time singer in the north-east social club circuit. Turning to the holiday centre sector, Bob was offered and subsequently accepted the post of entertainments manager at Golden Sands Holiday Park in Mablethorpe. Rising through the ranks during the eighties, he eventually became an area coordinator for Haven Holidays.
It was during his time as an agent with LSA, the former in-house agency business, then operated by Haven Holidays, that Bob became a familiar figure within the UK light entertainment scene. As one of several bookers for the agency, Roberts and colleagues – including Peter Duffy, Peter Allen, Tommy Dee and others – were key figures on the UK holiday entertainment scene.
In 1999, Bob worked in the upheaval in entertainment management which resulted in the Butlin’s/Haven holiday park merger.
Bob became entertainments manager and resident compere at Alvaston Hall, which is one of the 13 Warner Leisure Hotels operated by Bourne Leisure. His colleague, friend and musical director at Alvaston Hall, Andy Morgan, said: “Bob trained a lot of young people in this business and he was a great friend, both on and off the stage.”
Bob leaves his wife of two years Nell. He also leaves five children from his two previous marriages, Lucinda, John, Barry, Harry and Bobby.