Tributes paid to Dereham family man killed in car crash at Beetley

A family has paid tribute to a father and grandfather who died in a car crash at Beetley, near Dereham, last Thursday as 'a fantastic person' who would do anything for them.

Michael Roberts, who would have been celebrating his 57th birthday on Monday, died on the way home from work in a collision with another car on the B1110 Holt Road.

His heartbroken two daughters Vanessa and Chelsea and son Daniel were comforting each other at Vanessa's home in Hockering yesterday and said how his death would leave a huge hole in their lives.

The youngest of seven children Mr Roberts was born in Downham Market. After school he started work with Dereham furniture makers Jentique until their closure and then moved to RTA Wineracks in Ryburgh, made mirrors for Westeads and latterly made furniture for Gobur Caravans in Melton Constable.

He was most recently living in Dereham although he had previously lived in Worthing, Billingford and North Elmham. He was well known for playing in all the local football teams and also loved a round of golf or visiting Scotland to watch the game.

Every Sunday he would go out walking with lifelong friends Melvin and Susan Money but Vanessa said he had a strict routine which meant he always made time every week for his children and four grandchildren, Yasmin, Katie, Brendan and Leigh.

'He tried to split himself three ways, every Saturday he would be here and then on Sunday afternoon with Chelsea and then seeing Daniel,' she said. 'He liked living on his own and enjoyed his own time but if you ever phoned him up and said you needed him he would be there.'

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Chelsea said that her father had met her mother after he split from Vanessa's mother and although her brother Daniel was not his biological son he treated them all the same. 'He took him on at 18 months old and said he was his boy and that was that. He always took us out places - I don't think there is a bit of Norfolk he hadn't taken us to.'

Daniel added: 'We used to go fishing a lot and played golf together.'

Chelsea, who was named after her father's favourite football team, said he stood by them whatever decisions they made in life.

Vanessa said that the word that summed him up the best was 'legend'. She said: 'He was the nicest bloke you could ever wish to meet. He would not harm a hair on your head and he lived to see us happy.'

* Norfolk Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash which happened at 5.30pm on Thursday, May 12. Mr Roberts was driving a blue Vauxhall Astra towards Dereham when he was in collision with a black Honda Civic travelling towards North Elmham. The Honda driver, a man in his early 20s, was treated for serious leg injuries.

Contact 0845 456 4567 with any information.