‘My Dale would be proud’ – mum dedicates award to tragic footballer son

Shown with the awards at Horden Welfare Park are Yohden primary school pupils Morgan Wright, Leah Hanson and Josh Dowson with (left to right) Pat Wild, Isobel Roberts and park staff Walter Rudkin, Richard Hepworth, Cory Barron and Matthew Scott.
Shown with the awards at Horden Welfare Park are Yohden primary school pupils Morgan Wright, Leah Hanson and Josh Dowson with (left to right) Pat Wild, Isobel Roberts and park staff Walter Rudkin, Richard Hepworth, Cory Barron and Matthew Scott.

A STALWART honoured for making her village greener paid tribute to her late son as she accepted the prestigious accolade.

Isobel Roberts, from Horden, has won the Northumbria in Bloom Outstanding Contribution (voluntary) award.

Dale Roberts

Dale Roberts

She joins a long list of green-fingered champions who were honoured during the annual initiative, including Greatham Village, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, which picked up a gold certificate in the villages section.

Isobel and her family were hit by tragedy in 2010 when her son, Rushden and Diamonds goalkeeper Dale Roberts passed away aged just 24.

But Isobel, 62, paid tribute to Dale, saying he was the reason she poured her “heart and soul” into her work in the community.

Isobel, who is a member of the Horden in Bloom committee and also governor at the village’s Yohden Primary School, has worked with schoolchildren to brighten up their grounds.

Yohden also were joint winners of the Land of the Prince Bishop’s trophy during the top awards scheme, which saw a glittering ceremony held at Newcastle’s Gosforth Park earlier this week.

Isobel said: “I feel great that the school won, then I didn’t know until I went up to collect the award that I had been nominated for the outstanding contribution.

“I do it because I love it and for the reaction from the children. I do it to help folk.

“With my son dying, it gives me something to do. I put my heart and soul into it, and I think Dale would be proud.”

Horden Parish Council also won the silver gilt award in the best town category.

“Horden has done really well, we get a lot of bad publicity, but it’s great for the people of Horden to think we can do something,” said Isobel.

As Northumbria in Bloom celebrates its 50th anniversary, this has been another record-breaking year with Gold medal certificates being awarded to 120 communities and volunteer groups across the North-East who are dedicated to brightening up their areas.

Easington Village picked up a bronze certificate in the large village section.

Sedgefield’s entry, led by Sedgefield Town Council and Sedgefield in Bloom, won gold in the small town section and was the overall category winner.

Hardwick Park, also in Sedgefield, won gold in the conservation section.

Sedgefield’s Dun Cow also won gold in the public house category and Tommy Kay and Margaret Galley, also from Sedgefield, took gold in the private gardens section.