Tributes paid to Northampton pub landlord Doc Roberts

Doc Roberts
Doc Roberts

Tributes have been paid to a Northampton biker and landlord have been made ahead of a celebration of his life.

Doc Roberts, 62, a former landlord of several county pubs, including the Old Black Lion in Northampton, was a memorable man, his friends have said, both for his personality as well as his towering stature and waist-length ginger beard.

His funeral, where hundreds of bikers are expected, is not being planned as a sombre occasion and his friends say they will blow up an image of him to remind people of his instantly-recognisable frame.

Best friend of 35 years, Kel Kelly said: “One of us said wouldn’t it be a great idea to have him there in some way so he can stand with us like he always did.

“Having a cut-out of him will be part of the ambience of the funeral.

“It’s not a usual thing to do, but then again we are a bit different.”

Born “with motorcycle oil in his blood” Mr Roberts, whose real name was Gary, was a central member of both the United Bikers MC (Motorcycle Club) of Birmingham and the Lupus MC of Northants.

Despite spending his early life in Birmingham, Mr Roberts made Northamptonshire his home ran several of the county’s public houses, including The Harbour Lights, The Old Black Lion and The Dallington Brook in Northampton and the Dewdrop Inn and the Chequers in Wellingborough.

He had an aneurysm 10 years ago, which affected his speech, but he still loved riding his motorbike and was able to travel Europe with Mr Kelly weeks before his death.

Mr Roberts passed away on November 10 last year but lengthy toxicology tests caused by prescribed medication he was taking have delayed the funeral.

A service will take place on Friday, February 6, with the cortege departing at 2.30pm from Cambridge Street in Wellingborough, near The Dewdrop and Chequers.

A procession of his friends and family will travel to the chapel at Kettering Crematorium where Minister Jay Phelps the brother of a close friend of Doc’s will lead a tribute of remembrance.

Thanking Northamptonshire Police for their co-operation with the arrangements, close friend Liz Darlow said: “We’ll say our goodbyes to a much-loved friend and brother. The day will end with a celebration of the man, the legend and the many adventures that was Doc’s life.

“Doc is remembered by all those that knew and loved him as the greatest friend and the proudest son of England, a strong man of immense stature and gravitas from his size 12 boots to his unforgettable waist-length golden red beard.”