Obituary – Mr. Jef Roberts, Porthleven, Former Mayor of Helston

Breage School Field was almost full of cars due to the large number in attendance at the funeral service of Mr. Jeffery Roberts, aged 81, held at Breaney Methodist Chapel. Pastor Bill Reed, a lifelong friend, conducted the service and Jef's son-in-law, Paul Jenkin played the organ accompanied by Mr. Paul Benney.

Born on the 27th June, 1933, to Peter and Winnie Roberts of Tresaddern Farm, Ruan Minor, Jef was given his mother's maiden name of Jeffery. He attended Ruan Minor Church of England Primary School, walking there after hand-milking the cows. Returning from school, he would then fetch the cows in and feed the pigs. He also helped with haymaking, digging corn and picking potatoes. In later years, he went to school by milk lorry, along with his sister, Sue and they delivered the milk to customers along the way.

Jef loved to play football but he had to play in either plimsolls or hobnail boots as he didn't own football boots. In about 1948, at the age of 15, he finally persuaded his Mother to buy him some boots. Unfortunately during the first match with them on, he was tackled heavily and fractured his collar bone. That was the end of football for Jef.

Having watched a conjuror at school, an interest in magic was ignited. Jef practised diligently in front of a mirror. In any spare time he sketched, and this interest remained with him all his life.

Jef remained at the school until he was fifteen, when he went to work on the family farm until the age of twenty-one when, following a disagreement with his father, he moved to his Granny Jeffery's farm at Trannack, Lowertown. There was no electricity on the farm, but Jef worked hard there with his maiden aunt, May Jeffery. They later moved to Roselidden Farm at Trevenen Bal. Shortly after, Jef met the love of his life, Jeanette when he went to pick her up from Porthleven to sing at Ruan Minor Methodist Chapel. They married fifty-six years ago at Peverell Road Chapel in Porthleven. Jef always kept a diary, and the entry for the 30th May, 1959 read “Today is the happiest day of my life. I married Elizabeth Jeanette Williams.”

They couldn't spare the time for a honeymoon, but instead they went on afternoon trips to places like Gwennap Pit and Land's End aerodrome. Later they enjoyed touring with the Christian Caravan Club. Jef was also a member of the Cornish Magical Society, and he performed at parties, hotels, after-dinner events, etc. He was resident magician one night a week at the Hayle Towans Holiday Camp. His stage name was “Jefro – the Cornish Magitainer”.

Jef became a councillor and was Mayor of Helston in the years 1977-78 and again in 1980-81. Jef and Jeanette met the Queen during their first year of Office, during the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

Jef held a variety of jobs such as a travelling salesman, installing fire extinguishers, teaching cycling profiency in schools, and a driver for the St. John Ambulance. He also started the Porthleven School of Motoring, and a picture-framing business at the Harbour Head in Porthleven.

Jef and Jeanette were blessed with two daughters, Heather and Helen, and later six grandchildren.

Jef adored them all, and shared with them his lifelong love of learning about everything. Helen read a poem during the service, and Heather, who lives in Australia, gave the eulogy. His grandchildren also paid tribute to him.

Jef and Jeanette shared a lifelong strong faith and love of church, and Jef had been a member of many churches, including Ruan Minor, Ebenezer, Lowertown, Breage, Peverell Road and Fore Street, the Apostolic, and then Breaney. He was one of the editors of “The Grapevine” - the church magazine at Breaney, along with his great friend, Bill Reed.

The retiring collection was for The Leprosy Mission and Cornwall Hospice Care.

The bearers were his grandsons.

Family Mourners: Mrs. Jeanette Roberts, widow; Mr. and Mrs. E. Riardan (Australia), daughter and son-in-law; Mr. and Mrs. P. Jenkin, daughter and son-in-law; Robert, Matthew, Jonathan and Aislinn Hanley,(Australia) grandchildren; Craig and Megan Jenkin, grandchildren;Sue Tremayne, sister; Rosemary Bray, Verna & Harry Tripconey, Colin & Trish Roberts, Tony & Gloria Roberts, Arthur & Kathleen Roberts, Pearl Roberts, Ray & Pat Boucher; Claude & Jean Bennett, Elizabeth and Ron Endean, also rep. R. Gilbert, William Roberts, Margaret & Trevor Warren, Rosemary Roberts, April Combellack, June Tiplady, Everett Tripp also rep. Ruth Trippand Richard & Helen Tresize, Paul and Mary Louise Combellack, Sarah Combellack, Leslie Bosustow also rep. Joan Bosustow and Esme Wearne, Nita & Cyril Bayliss, Arnold & Eileen Phillips, cousins.

Funeral Directors: F. E. Strike & Sons (Porthleven).