Charity supporter and ex-Navy man from Lutterworth dies

Bob Derrick
Bob Derrick

A former chef on the Royal Yacht and former president of Lutterworth Rotary, Bob Derrick, has died at Leicester Royal Infirmary. He was 87.

Bob’s last Royal Navy job was on HM Yacht Britannia in 1955-6.

More than 40 years later he reminisced with the Queen about his work there, when he and his wife Eileen – at the time chair of Harborough District Council – met the Queen at a garden party at Buckingham Palace.

Eileen said: “Bob told the Queen he was devastated when the Royal Yacht was decommissioned.
The Queen said ‘so were we, so were we’.”

Bob was born in Castle Donnington in 1931, the middle son of three born to Kathleen and Arthur Derrick.

After leaving school he worked at Slack and Parr, Kegworth, but soon tiring of this he joined the Navy.

His first assignment was on the Royal Arthur, shore-based at Corsham, Wiltshire followed by HMS Ceres, York, where he trained to be a Junior Assistant Cook.

He served on HMS Mariner, a mine sweeper, where he was on ‘fishery protection’, and HMS Hornbill, a Naval Air Station near Abingdon.

He was then asked by the Draft Commander if he would like to serve on HM Yacht Britannia.

He served there as Leading Hand on the Yacht for his last 10 months in the Navy, leaving on July 1, 1956.

He then worked at Castle Donnington Power Station for the next 33 years, most of the time as Operations Supervisor.

Bob and Eileen got married in 1970. They moved to Lutterworth in 1988 where he retired the following year.

He joined Lutterworth Rotary in 1992, became president in 2000 and obtained a Paul Harris Award in 2005, for the work he and Eileen had done through the club for drinking water charity Aquaboxes and spectacles charity Vision Aid Overseas.

A Rotary Club statement said: “Bob was a real gentleman always impeccably dressed.

“He was respected by all who met him – something he would have denied.

“Bob was just Bob, who took no sides. In his eyes everyone was on a level playing field.

“He will be greatly missed in the town and the club to which he did so much.”

His funeral will be at St Mary’s Church in Lutterworth at 11.30am on Thursday, January 17. Donations are invited to Vascular Dementia.