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Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Clark MBE obituary: From a Dundee bingo hall to Buckingham Palace

Roberta Clark receives her MBE from the Queen.
Roberta Clark receives her MBE from the Queen.

Roberta Clark, whose career took her from the bingo to Buckingham Palace, has died aged 83.

She was known as Bobbie and generations of players at Dundee’s Mecca hall knew her as friendly supervisor who worked evenings.

During the day Bobbie was a civil servant working for the tax office and the DVLA. She took on the extra job to fund the university education of her son Jim, who died in 2020.


Towards the end of her civil service career, Bobbie was made an MBE and received her award from the Queen at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace.

Her friend, Mags Taylor said: “Bobbie really was a lady. She left an impression on anyone she met and many people will remember her from the bingo.”

She was born in Dundee just before the start of the Second World War to Robert and Elizabeth Cowan who both worked in the jute mills.

After education in Dundee she moved to London to attend university and it was there she met her future husband James Clark.


He had a career in the diplomatic service and the couple spent many years abroad in India, Tanzania, Australia and the United States.

The couple had one son Jim. They later divorced and Bobbie and Jim returned to Dundee.

Bobbie began work with the then Inland Revenue in Dundee and also played a role at the DVLA in liaising with the police.

At one point, she was working at three jobs to put son Jim through university.

He studied Scottish history and archaeology and started work as a buyer in London.

Legal career

Jim then went to Strathclyde University, graduated with an honours degree in law and began work in the procurator fiscal’s office in Paisley.

Bobbie, who was predeceased by her partner John Anderson, had campaigned in recent years for the full reinstatement of the bus to Asda Milton.

Mags said: “Bobbie, like so many others, valued the bus. It was a social occasion and so many people treated it as a blether bus.”

You can read the family’s announcement here.

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