Families celebrate 30 years of Roberts Centre at teddy bear picnic

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FAMILIES spent a day in the sun celebrating 30 years of the Roberts Centre.

The service held a teddy bears’ picnic to give people in Portsmouth the chance to mark their anniversary with them.

And children were able to meet the centre’s mascot Robert bear as well as The News’ mascot Chipper, Pudsey the Bear and The Rowans Hospice’s meerkat Rowan.

Held in the gardens of the City Museum, the event had stalls, games, a train ride and refreshments.

There was live music from the Pompey Pluckers, Portsmouth Grammar School Brass Band and Northern Parade Primary School’s steel pan band.

Barry and Becky Miles, from Hambledon, were at the picnic with Becky’s mum Pazza Milano and their sons Rufus, five, and Edgar, two. Becky, 36, said: ‘The day has been really good fun.

It has been a good day out and it is nice to celebrate with the Roberts Centre and support them.

Becky Miles

‘The boys loved going on the bouncy castle, the slide and the train.

‘It’s been a good day out and it is nice to celebrate with the Roberts Centre and support them.’

Edgar added: ‘I liked riding the train.’

Emma and Steve Jones, from Baffins, saw the picnic advertised on Facebook. They decided to take their three-year-old son Henry along.

Steve said: ‘The work the Roberts Centre does for families is great. It is good they have opened this event up to all families in Portsmouth.’

The centre, in Crasswell Street in Landport, helps and supports hundreds of homeless and needy families in the city. It was started after American Ernest Cullen Roberts Junior left money in his will to help children and families in Portsmouth.

His nearest relative Tom Cullen Roberts flew over from Virginia to attend the picnic and see the good work the Roberts Centre does.

He said: ‘This event has been wonderful. It is about the children and it is great to see the children coming together.

‘It has been quite an adventure learning about the legacy left behind by my dad’s cousin Ernie. It has been overwhelming.

‘Now, it is the people who work at the centre who are carrying on that legacy.’

Chief executive of the Roberts Centre Carole Damper said it was fantastic seeing so many attend. She added: ‘It has been wonderful celebrating our 30th anniversary with so many people.’