Page 2 - HGS Suburb News 134 - Spring 2018
P. 2

Derek Chandler                               school, university, and the work-  Amenity Societies, and Probus,   Beryl Druce
                                                              He kept his friends from
                                                                                      for  retired professionals. As
                     1938-2018                              place, and to those he added   Secretary of the Benevolent          1931-2018
                                                            new ones near where he lived.  Association of the Chartered
                                                            Derek saw John the Barber, just   Institute of Patent Attorneys, he
                                                            round  the  corner,  nearly  every   was, for 16 years, the main
                                                            day for 20 years. They loved to   point  of  contact  for  anyone
                                                            chat, and Derek would take him   asking for their help in the form
                                                            the Evening Standard if he was   of a grant.
                                                            passing his shop in the evening.  Derek liked to make sure
                                                              In his retirement he was   people were comfortable, even
                                                            able to devote more time to   finding seats for strangers on the
                                                            organisations promoting the   bus. And the source of his good
                                                            general good. It included the   manners and his courtesy was his
                                                            local ward panel for the Safer   full engagement with everything
                                                            Neighbourhood  Team,  the  and everyone around him.
                                                            London Forum of Civic and                KATE HOBSON

                                                              Peter Neville, chairman of the BTG Pensioners’ Association,
                                                                                pays tribute
                                                            In my lifetime, I have been   won’t empty properly.”
                                                            privileged to meet a handful of  “Oh, what model is it?”
                                                            individuals who were entirely  “Whizzo 66.”
                                                            good and helpful, and of whom  “The 66E or 66F?”
      Derek was an only child, born   house in Golders Green where
                                                            nobody had a bad word to say.  “66E I think.”
      to Dick and Peggy in Southgate,  they stayed.         Derek was one of them.    “Ah well, take off the switchgear
      on 7 December 1938. He and    The house was in a bad way
                                                               More than that – he had the
      his family were lucky to survive   and they set to and put it to   gift, when you spoke to him, of   cover plate, you’ll see a row of   Beryl was born in Guayaquil,   had planted decades back, and
                                                                                                                                            which give a wonderful display
                                                                                                                 Ecuador in 1931 and lived there,
      the Blitz – in 1940 a blast blew   rights – Derek concentrating on   making you feel you were the only   copper contacts. Go to the seventh   and in Santiago, Chile, until   of blooms in Spring. Spending
                                                                                      from the left, you’ll see it’s pitted.
      the back of the house through   the plumbing, heating, rewiring,   person of interest to him. This   Just burnish it with fine sandpaper   1945 when her family came   time in her garden gave Beryl
      the front. Fortunately, they were   fixtures and fittings, while Sue
      in  the shelter in  the  garden,  did the decorating – all of it, inside   is not to suggest he was some   and you should be all right.”    back to the UK on the troop   great happiness.
                                                                                                                                              A well-known face on the
                                                            unworldly guru – he was intensely
                                                                                                                 ship SS Rangitiki.
      although  the  infant  Derek  did   and out. It was years before Derek   practical and knowledgeable.   Problem solved. Of course.  The Heselton family eventually   Suburb, Beryl often stopped to
                                                                                         He was the best Chairman
      disappear for a time under a pile   allowed a workman anywhere   Thus, a typical ‘household   the BTG Pensioners’ Association   settled in West Hampstead in   chat whilst out shopping on a
      of sand. The family moved to   near the house, let alone in it.
      Oxford, and returned to the house   The couple’s first daughter,   problem’ conversation with him   has ever had, and the best Head   early 1946, and Beryl with sister   Saturday; Dr Vadgama in Temple
                                                                                                                 Evelyn started at Henrietta
                                                            might go like this:
                                                                                                                                            Fortune was a regular stopping
      when it was rebuilt in 1947.  Helen, arrived in 1973, followed   “Derek, my washing machine   that the BTG Patents Department   Barnett School.  place of hers.
         An intelligent child, with ‘a   by Janet in 1980. They remember              never had.”
      memory like a dustbin’, as his   Derek as strict but fair. He had   Roger Cullis, long standing colleague and friend, reflects on   After school, she worked as   She made many good
      wife Sue describes it, he got a   clear ideas on how they should     what made Derek special               a secretary in town and met   friends at Abbeyfield when she
                                                                                                                                            stayed there whilst work was
                                                                                                                 Neville Druce, whom she married
      scholarship to the Mercers’ School   behave and communicated them   Derek, who died of systemic cancer,   offered me use of his IoW flat   in August 1954, with her sisters   done on her house, and she felt
      in Holborn. But his reports suggest   robustly. There were the inevitable   and I go back a long way together.    when my son, Jamie, was just 2   Evelyn, Agnes and Mary as   it a wrench to leave. However,
      they may have  been a  little   tensions, particularly when the
      disappointed in him – describing   girls became teenagers, and some   In the 1960s, patent trainees were   months old and we had the first   bridesmaids.  The  couple,  with   Beryl remained a regular for
                                                            often recruited from corporate
                                                                                      of many lovely holidays there
                                                                                                                 their daughters Katrina and
                                                                                                                                            lunch after an invitation from
      him as ‘erratic’, ‘lazy’, ‘perfectly   of their friends were just a bit   R&D departments.   and  in  the  subsequent  house   Nicolette, moved to 68 Erskine   Lynn and Lucy. She felt welcome
      capable but not always prepared   scared of Derek – something to   We were originally engineers   overlooking the Solent. Those   Hill in 1960, where she lived for   at Abbeyfield and considered it
      to put the effort in’. What they   do with his height, perhaps, and
                                                            at Standard Telephones & Cables
      missed is that he already had clear   the rather intimidating habit he   Ltd. I moved to the London Patent   holidays over eight summers were   the rest of her life.  a privilege to go there; she valued
                                                                                                                    Beryl supported Neville’s
                                                                                                                                            the company and friendship.
                                                                                      a joy for us and I like to think gave
      views about what was worth   had of becoming more and more   Department of International   Derek some pleasure knowing   decision to leave the BBC to start   Family and work colleagues
      doing and what not. If it was   quiet the angrier he became.   Telephone  &  Telegraph  Corp.   we enjoyed it so much.”  a company, Better Sound, which   will remember Beryl’s love of
      worthwhile, he put the effort in   It was a close family. They
                                                                                         My daughter Gemma wrote,  led to the formation of Audio
      and he did it well. One of the   always ate together and often   (STC’s parent company) in 1963   “I look back on my holiday work   Engineering in 1965. Former   Post-Its to communicate. When
                                                                                                                                            the offices closed, yellow notes
                                                            and Derek a year or two later.
      things Derek did particularly well,  took off to the Isle of Wight for   We shared an office  and a   at BTG with fondness – especially   neighbour from Coleridge Walk,   were on the walls from front to
      was to make lifelong friends.  a break. This meant it wasn’t   double desk in Glasshouse Yard,   the  mind-expanding  and  wide-  Molly Davies, lent them £100   back of the building – reminders
         Derek  progressed  to  take  a   practical to have animals in the
      degree in electronic engineering   house. But put Derek next to a   overlooking the  Barbican.  Our   ranging lunchtime discussions.  to help start their company,   to remember keys, put out milk
                                                                                                                                            bottles, lock up.
                                                            entertainment was watching
                                                                                      He, in particular, was always
                                                                                                                 and Molly’s faith in the couple
      at Kings College, Durham, what   cat, and there was no separating   the wrecking balls demolishing   kind, patient and indulgent of   was rewarded many times over.   Known for her lovely smile
      is now Newcastle University.  them. And when Janet brought   the bombsite in preparation for   my questions.   Employees were valued as if   and sense of humour, she was
      Derek now had to earn a living,  one of her rabbits to stay for a
                                                                                         “I often remember with a
      and he did so firstly as an   while, Bob Bunny and Derek   redevelopment.       chuckle, an occasion on which   they were family, and she kept   always polite with a ‘Thank You’
                                                              We both developed similar
                                                                                                                 the company going as long as
                                                                                                                                            to finish. Beryl felt that she had
      electrical engineer, moving on   bonded immediately – and sat   filing systems, based on the   Sam Radley decided to test   possible after Neville’s death in   had a happy life and done
      to  become  a  patent  attorney,  watching the TV together.  mnemonic value of adjacent   whether he actually read the   1999  with  it  closing  in  2015  –  everything  she wanted to  do.
      retiring in 1995.             He also liked to relax with
                                                            documents in a heap of papers.
         He was a dedicated family   music or a good book – preferably   A paper read at the British   ‘Powers’  that  she  prepared  for   Beryl was really proud  of all   She was always grateful, cheerful
                                                                                      him as he signed and passed
                                                                                                                                            and laughing to the end of her
                                                                                                                 that had been achieved and of
      man. It started with a group of   non-fiction but occasionally a   Association for the Advancement   them back with barely a glance.   her many loyal staff.  life; loved, admired and respected
      friends, of which Sue was a part.  Terry Pratchett or other fantasy   of Science later called this the   She inserted the words “and   Beryl loved cruising. She went   by all who knew her.
      They finally got together as a   novel – a taste he picked up from
      couple in March 1964 and   his daughters. He had a wry   Volcano filing  system because   verily, I do declare that I am a   around the world with husband   NICOLETTE DRUCE
                                                                                      small aquatic mammal named
                                                                                                                 Neville in the 90’s, stopping off
                                                            the heaps were apt to collapse
      married the next August. They   attitude to life, and a dry sense   like a magma eruption.   Bill,” in the middle of the text.   to see Nicolette in Turkey.    Ian Tutton adds a
      moved around north London a   of humour, and he certainly   We moved on, Derek to   He glanced at it and said “Nice   There were other cruises to   personal tribute
      little before settling in the   enjoyed a good joke.
                                                            Westinghouse, EMI and the then   try Sam, I’m not going to sign   all corners of the world, including   I  knew  Beryl  for  the  last  few
                                                            National Research Development   that!” We were all astonished,  a trip to Antarctica to see her   years of her life. To me she was
         Hall and Randall Plumbers                          Corporation (NRDC, later BTG).   but he shrugged and explained   favourites –  the penguins! She   ‘nice’ being a word that my
                                                                                                                                            the  epitome  of  a  ‘nice’  lady  –
                                                                                      that it made the text the wrong
                                                                                                                 thought they were a bit smellier
                                                            His interpersonal skills are reflected
                                                            in  the following  comments  by   shape! I have to sign those   than expected and although   English  teacher  forbade  us  to
         Plumbing and Heating Services • Property Maintenance  some who worked with him.  documents myself these days   she was advised to keep away   use when writing – find another
                                                               Malcolm Carter (former   and always do so with a smile.”  from them, the curious penguins   word she would say …well, how
                                                            NRDC Records Manager) said   Derek spent his life helping   had other ideas. Beryl continued   about kind, considerate, patient,
                                                           “Receiving his Christmas card   others. A huge congregation of   cruising until 2017 and in fact   thoughtful, generous, polite,
                                                            with the note saying that palliative   friends from all stages of his life   had another one booked for the   engaging,  delightful,  humble,
                                                            care was all that was left, made   bade him farewell at a Humanist   end of January 2018.  straightforward, welcoming and
                                                            me aware of his plight but I am   ceremony at Golders Green   Beryl loved her garden. She   so on… all words that could be
                                                            still shaken by the speed of his   Crematorium on February 24. He   spent hours de-heading her   used to describe Beryl, she was
                                                            decline. Warm and generous   leaves his wife, Sue, daughters   favourite “rhodos”, which Neville   indeed, a very nice lady indeed.
                                                            just about sums Derek up.  Janet and Helen and three grand-
                                                              “On a very personal note about   children who will all sorely
                                                            his generosity and kindness, he   miss him.
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