Deaf Trust stalwart retires after 42 years

Doncaster Deaf Trust’s longest standing volunteer is stepping down after 42 years of dedicated service, including the last 13 years leading the trustees.

Bobbie Roberts, MBE, Freeman of Doncaster Town, former Chair of the Doncaster Magistrates bench and recipient of Doncaster Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement award in 2015, will step down from her role as Chair of Trustees at the end of July.

Her tireless work and campaigning for the rights of Deaf children and young people has seen her briefing government departments, welcoming royal visitors and working across a number of European Countries.

Alexis Johnson, executive principal of Doncaster Deaf Trust said: “I can honestly say I’ve never met a Chair of Trustees like Bobbie. She is in the Trust every day providing her support and she never stops. The time, drive and passion that she has given to Doncaster Deaf Trust over the past forty-two years has made a huge difference to so many families and employees.

“Her name is synonymous with the Trust. She has dedicated such a large part of her life to this organisation and we’re eternally grateful for all that she has done. She has opened so many doors across the region and made sure that people in the right places know about Doncaster Deaf Trust and the work that we do.

“Bobbie will be hugely missed, not only by the Trustees, Governors and staff but by the pupils and families who she has interacted with on a daily basis. Nothing is ever too much trouble for Bobbie, she is one of those rare people who manages to make things happen and if she doesn’t know how to do it, she certainly knows someone who will. I’ve really enjoyed working with her and I’ve learned so much from her.

“Thank you doesn’t even begin to cover what we want to say to Bobbie. She has played a huge role in shaping Doncaster Deaf Trust and her efforts and achievements will continue to help and support us as we look to the future of the organisation.”

Doncaster Deaf Trust manages Little Learners Day Nursery, Doncaster School for the Deaf, Dickson House Children’s Home, Communication Specialist College Doncaster and Specialist Employability Services Doncaster.

Bobbie Roberts, chair of trustees said: “It has been a massive honour to work with Doncaster Deaf Trust and see the organisation change and grow over the past forty-two years.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with so many wonderful people - when someone joined our organisation many years ago and didn’t have child care, we created a nursery, which is now a thriving part of the Trust caring for up to 90 young children. When our college could see that there were young people with communication difficulties who were being failed by mainstream provision, we expanded our offering, changed our name and embraced new services and, when we were contacted by a team from Sweden who were looking to develop an online resource for Deaf people, we got involved and became the UK representatives on a large scale digital project which will be completed in 2021.

“I would like to say a special thank you to Alan Robinson, the previous Executive Principal of the Trust who I worked with for 26 years before he retired in 2019 and I wish Alexis Johnson our new Executive Principal all the best for the future.

“I am also thrilled to have been instrumental in welcoming Mark Warde Norbury and Charles Warde Aldam as Trustees of the organisation, both from the families of the founders of the Deaf School. I’m sure they will do a wonderful job.

“There are so many things to be proud of and so many people who’ve had a huge impact on my life but at 82 years old I thought I’d up the pace a little and take some time to travel!

“Sometimes you find an organisation that is a perfect fit and in the 1970s that is what I found in Doncaster Deaf Trust. We’ve grown and developed together and I’ve been proud to be Chair of Trustees of an organisation that cares so much about the people it is there to serve.”

For further information about Doncaster Deaf Trust visit


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