Derek Waterfield obituary

1 February 2004

Derek Waterfield, president of the Fellmongers Association from 1996 onwards and former president of the National Federation of Hides and Skins Markets, died in December. Derek spent his whole working life in the UK hides and skins industry, initially with his family's company Thomas Waterfield & Sons, Retford, where he was a third generation fellmonger following in his father's footsteps. The firm was started by his grandfather but, when he died, only Derek and one of his cousins, Eric Waterfield, wished to continue in the industry so the company was sold to Weddels, part of the Vestey Group's Union International. Derek's father retired at this time and Derek's job at Retford as pelt manager was taken over by his cousin when Derek went as assistant manager to the Cambrian Leather Works, Wrexham, also part of Weddels. After undergoing a number of management courses at Wrexham, Abingdon and Bristol, he took over their new fellmongery. It was at Cambrian that Derek met and married his wife Marjorie who was secretary to the managing director. After a period spent in Wrexham, Derek next joined Bristol Hide and Skin Co where he remained for three to four years. In 1961, he was head hunted by A H Taylors of Cheltenham, fellmongers and hide and skin merchants, and asked to join them as their general manager. He remained there until he retired in around 1992. Towards the end of his time there, they were taken over by Barkers and he spent five years as assessor and controller of 21 depots dealing with exports. Derek served for many years as a technical and training officer for the National Federation of Hides and Skins Markets and the UK Fellmongers Association. He was also very committed to the scouting movement and also worked for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme for 25 years where he was chairman of the Gloucester district. In addition, he also found time to set up a local volunteer service centre and has spent most of his time immersed in good works. His wife says she could not keep up with the number of committees he served on. Last year, he was awarded the Silver Wolf, the scouting movement's highest award. Ill health prevented him from travelling to Windsor Castle and the award ceremony was transferred to Gloucester Cathedral. In addition to his services to scouting in general, he also spent thirteen years teaching life saving through all the various stages. Editor's note: I counted Derek Waterfield as a friend and sat next to him at a number of UK industry dinners over many years. He was a lovely man with a generous spirit who gave a great deal back to the world in which he lived.

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