Tributes paid to former Mansfield landlord who has passed away after battling Parkinson's disease

Tributes have been paid to a former Mansfield landlord who passed away following an eight year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
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Esmond Roberts died on March 4, aged 84, in Kings Mill Hospital after being admitted for pneumonia.

Born and bred in Pleasley to Frederick and Margaret Roberts, Esmond was one of 12 children.

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He began his working life as at Landers Bread, firstly as a van boy and then onto the bread factory, eventually having his own bread round across the community, always pushing to be bigger and better, selling more than bread and providing an invaluable service for local people in Mansfield.

Esmond Roberts was a landlord in the Mansfield area for more than 20 yearsEsmond Roberts was a landlord in the Mansfield area for more than 20 years
Esmond Roberts was a landlord in the Mansfield area for more than 20 years

Diane Hannah, Esmond’s stepdaughter, said: “Never shy of working hard, he spent some time down the coal mine before becoming a milkman for Northern Dairy, Esmond was ambitious and eventually had the biggest round in the area, winning many awards for his service to the industry.”

During the 1980’s he trained and qualified as a financial adviser, and saw clients in the evenings to discuss their investments and mortgages. This was done alongside his milk round and often worked from 4am to 9pm to provide for his family.

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Beginning his career as a publican for Mansfield Brewery, alongside his wife Barbara at the Wheatsheaf on Stockwell Gate in 1991, he was licensee for five years and was known for transforming pubs into busy establishments, with high quality beer, great food and a friendly atmosphere.

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His pub career spanned over two decades winning awards for Best Landlord and becoming a popular member of the wider Mansfield community.

He went on to win Cellar of the Year many times in Mansfield Woodhouse at the Black Bull, in Sutton at the Sir John Cockle, and then at the Rushley on Nottingham Road from where he eventually retired from the brewery.

Unable to settle into retirement he then went to work as relief publican at Sam Smith Brewery, with Barbara at the Whitegates in Forest Town, and a hotel in Northamptonshire, well into his 70's.

Never one to rest, and despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he then volunteered for the Homeless Support Centre at St Mary's Church, together with his wife and used his spare time to give back to those not as fortunate.

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It was reminiscent of his years behind a bar, and he thrived from connecting with people, sharing experiences and stories of his life.

On February 26, Esmond was admitted to Kings Mill Hospital with pneumonia and despite exceptional efforts and relentless care from the team on ward 42, he passed away on March 4, surrounded by his family.

Diane said: “Esmond was always described as a loving husband, a hardworking and progressive man, who had time for everyone, always without judgement and ready to share a cheeky joke.”

He leaves his wife Barbara, two children, Dale and Karen, two stepchildren, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.