Where to begin with memories of Derek? He had many roles in his life, husband, father, uncle, friend, sailor, air traffic controller, musician, thespian, scene builder, house builder and furniture maker, football supporter - the list goes on.
So, letís begin at the beginning. Derek was born in London; in his teens he was an active member of the Sea Cadets. On finishing school his first job was learning to make bagpipes. Derek did his national service in the Royal Navy and then signed on as a regular for several years. After he left the Royal Navy most of Derekís working life was spent as an Air Traffic Controller at Heathrow.
Derek was an active member of the Sinodun Players. One of my earliest memories is seeing him on stage, wearing impossibly high platform shoes and a large purple wig in his role as the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk. He was handy on and off stage, building sets and working at great heights on the roof of the Corn Exchange when the players undertook that conversion and made the building their permanent home.
The familyís move to Sotwell Hill Lodge saw Derek concentrating his DIY skills on the house as rooms were added and extended and a new garage and stable built. Much of this work was done by Derek He also built a dresser and a large dining table, designed especially to fit the house.
Derek liked football and supported Chelsea Football Club, he enjoyed reading, especially crime novels, and he was passionate about keeping the local Post Office open, so never missed an opportunity to use its services. He and the family supported many of the village events and he was always willing to lend a hand.
Derek was a quiet and gentle man, a really nice guy. He was always hospitable, offering tea as soon as you stepped inside the back door. His quiet sense of humour was ever present and gatherings of friends were inevitably punctuated by laughter.
Much loved by his family and friends Derek will be missed by us all.
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