Published: 30 September, 2010
RUTH Roberts, the director of St Pancras Community Centre, died on September 16 after 16 years at its helm. She was 57.
Her long list of achievements at the Camden-based facility include developing the popular lunch club for pensioners – to which she attracted scores of new members – and organising holidays for the elderly. She was also known for her enthusiasm for themed days and celebrations.
Her daughter Abby, 32, said: “Ruth being Ruth, her job entailed anything that came up. She’d work in the kitchen or go to the cash-and-carry, take people on holidays, call bingo as well as raising funds to get the new build done. She would always go above and beyond to get things done.”
Raised in Croydon, she was still a teenager when she married Camden actor, screenwriter and playwright Mick Ford, and had her first daughter Rachel when she was 19. Her second daughter Abby was born five years later.
She began working in community centres and projects, quickly working her way up to managerial roles. Before becoming the first paid director at the Camden Street community centre, she steered a similar project in Elephant and Castle.
Perhaps her greatest achievement at St Pancras was driving forward the re-build of the centre, which will go ahead next year.
She spent years fighting to secure funding so that the elderly visitors could enjoy better facilities.
Tragically, she will never see the new building but she was told the project had been given the green light before her death.
Ms Roberts was told she had an inoperable brain tumour just weeks before she died – but she later told family members she suspected something was wrong long before.
“She said she had so much she wanted to do at the centre she didn’t want to mention it,” said Abby. “Her job was the most important thing to her. It is what she dedicated her life to.
“Although she was incredibly fierce when it came to her job, she also had an incredible sense of humour – a silly, fun sense of humour. And she was deeply kind. Whenever anyone needed anything she was willing to help. It came to her naturally.”
She is survived by her two daughters and two grandsons.