My very good friend Hugh Roberts. Hugh passed away on Sunday (26th October
2014 two months short of his 93rd birthday. He has been in a nursing home
in Spondon for the past two years but this hadn’t suppressed his
sense of humour and zest for life. Until a few weeks ago we were still
continuing our tradition of nearly forty years of going for a pint every
week or two. In fact on one of our last pub lunches we called in to Derby
Sewage Works on our return and the current site manager, Andy Blake, kindly
spent time with us and took us around a works that has been totally transformed
since we were there last. He said afterwards that it was like taking two
enthusiastic young boys into a sweet shop!!
Hugh trained as an apprentice with the ‘National Engine Co.’ and shortly after he had finished he joined the Navy and served in North Africa during the war servicing mainly marine reconnaissance aircraft. After the war he went back to National installing their large engines around the UK and overseas including a stint in the Caribbean. It was from here that he joined the water Industry initially at Rye Meads Sewage Works in Hertfordshire before moving to Derby in the mid-fifties to take responsibility for the new engine room and pumping station there. Like many of us he transferred to Severn-Trent in 1974 and held maintenance management roles until he retired in 1988. His sense of humour, professionalism and desire to help colleagues get the job sorted made him a popular member of staff.
Shortly after our nostalgic trip to Derby Works, Hugh suffered a serious fall followed by a stroke. Communication was then difficult but despite his plight he still retained his sense of fun, he had lots of laughs and still was more worried about the people around him than himself.