Family tribute for a ‘real character’ and Tulips player who shone in goal

Peter Roberts, formerly of Spalding United and Bourne Town.
Photo supplied.
Peter Roberts, formerly of Spalding United and Bourne Town. Photo supplied.

A former Spalding United and Bourne Town goalkeeper who once impressed an England football legend of the 1930s and 40s has died, aged 83.

Peter Roberts passed away “peacefully” in hospital on Christmas Eve, according to his daughter Sharon Roberts, and the Tulips held a minute’s silence before the game against Newcastle Town on Saturday.

Spalding United goalkeeper Peter Roberts in action during a trial game for the Tulips in August 1956.  From the Lincolnshire Free Press archives.

Spalding United goalkeeper Peter Roberts in action during a trial game for the Tulips in August 1956. From the Lincolnshire Free Press archives.

Mr Roberts, a builder by trade, made his name for Spalding in an FA Cup tie against Kettering Town at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field which the Tulips won 3-2 in front of more than 4,000 spectators.

Playing against Spalding, for Kettering, was Tommy Lawton who scored 231 goals in 390 league games for Notts County, Everton, Arsenal, Brentford and Chelsea, along with 22 goals in 23 games for England.

Sharon said: “My father was an all-round sportsman who played in a very good Spalding team before he was signed by Tommy Lawton to play for Kettering.

“Dad once played in front of 18,000 people for Kettering in the FA Cup at Peterborough United in November 1958 when he was man of the match.

My father was a real character and such a lovely person who would help anybody

Sharon Roberts, daughter of Peter Roberts

“My father was always a busy man and everybody knew him because he played at Spalding Golf Club and in a darts team. “Dad was a real character, a lovely person who would help anybody.”

Born in Spalding, Mr Roberts grew up on a farm where he developed a love of animals.

He went to the former Gleed Boys’ School (now Spalding Academy) before joining the RAF where he regularly played for Armed Forces sports teams.

Sharon said: “While everybody else was training, my father was doing the high jump, pole vault and playing sport.

“When he went to Spalding United games, the amount of people who would come up and talk to him means there’ll be a lot of them who’ll be sad to know that he’s died.”

The funeral of Mr Roberts, who is also survived by wife Pauline and son Nigel, is at Surfleet Crematorium on Thursday, January 11, at 11am.

• What are your memories of Peter Roberts? Email them to jeremy.ransome@
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