HILLSBOROUGH: Sister's tribute to her 'protective big brother'

Graham Roberts from Wallasey was planning to move in with his fiancé Sandra

Graham Roberts from Wallasey was planning to move in with his fiancé Sandra

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A young Wirral man was engaged to marry and due to sign for his first home when he lost his life in the Hillsborough disaster.

Graham Roberts from Wallasey was planning to move in with his fiancé Sandra, who he was to marry in the summer of 1990.

The couple had received a letter from their estate agent on the morning of the fateful game on April 15, 1989, telling them the contracts for their home were ready to sign.

Sandra pleaded with Graham - who was 24 years old when he died - to not go to the game and instead sign the contracts.

In a pen portrait given at the fresh inquests today, his sister Sue Roberts said: "He said, 'it's a semi-final and that they could sign for their house on Monday instead'."

Graham was born in Liverpool on May 5, 1964.

His family moved to Wallasey when he was just three-years-old.

He would have celebrated his 50th birthday this coming May.

Graham was a lifelong Liverpool supporter and a season ticket holder for the Kop for many years.

"Everything Graham did in his life, he gave 100%," said Sue.

Graham worked hard at school and was in the top five of his year in both maths and English.

He attended Eggremont Primary and Withensfield School with Sue, who was only 14 months younger than him.

Sue said: "During our school days Graham was a protective big brother, he would look out for me and it was always a great comfort to me to know he was around."

As well as a natural talent on the football pitch, Graham was also a snooker fan and would spend many hours playing the sport with his friends at his family home and at the local snooker club, Rocket Ronnies.

He landed the lead role in a school play as Ludo the circus boy after being persuaded to audition by his sister and was also a keen fisherman.

He was a member of 9th Wallasey Cubs and Scouts and was so well thought of and respected that after leaving, he was asked to become a leader.

Sue told the court she has no doubt that it was something after he was married and settled.

After leaving school at 16, Graham started an apprenticeship at British Gas and although he was only 24 when he died, Graham had worked his way up to a senior position within the company as an engineer supervisor.

On starting work, Graham began giving pocket money to his sister, something she said he would give in exchange for her doing chores.

Sue told the coroner's court at Warrington: "He would send me to collect and return his videos and occasionally he would drag me out of bed to make tea and toast for him and his friends with the threat that if I didn't, he would stop my pocket money."

Despite having to carry out such tasks, Sue said she never minded as it "was never really a chore".

Speaking on behalf of the whole family, Sue said: "I'm sure you will agree with me that Graham had so much to live for and an exciting future ahead of him.

"He put so much into every aspect of his life and he deserved the happy future that he should have been ahead of him.

"I was and always will be proud to have him as my big brother.

"Both my parents are now reunited with their beloved son which sadly, since his death, was all they ever wanted."

Sue added: "It is my belief that they are looking down on us all from heaven along with my brother Graham, the other 95 victims of this awful day, also the other parents, family members, friends and survivors who have passed away prematurely due to the torment caused by the loss and trauma of the last 25 years."

The new inquest into Britain's worst sporting disaster began last month and resumed this week following a break for the 25th anniversary of the tragedy.

They are taking place at Birchwood Park in Warrington and are being heard by Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice Goldring, who has been made an assistant coroner for the purpose.

The original accidental deaths verdicts in 1991 were quashed in the High Court in 2012 after a long campaign by the Hillsborough families.

Twelve of those who lost their lives in the disaster were from Wirral and Ellesmere Port.

They were:

Peter Burkett, 24, Rock Ferry.

Ray Chapman, 50, Prenton.

James Delaney, 19, Ellesmere Port.

Christopher Edwards, 29, Ellesmere Port.

Thomas "Steve" Fox, 21, Birkenhead.

James Hennessy, 29, Ellesmere Port.

Arthur Horrocks, 41, Bebington.

Anthony Kelly, 29, Rock Ferry.

Graham Roberts, 24, Wallasey.

Dave Thomas, 23, Higher Tranmere.

Chris Traynor, 26, Birkenhead.

Kevin Traynor, 16, Birkenhead.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree