The weekend of the May Fair saw the sad demise of Derek, who died on Monday 3rd May, 2004.
Derek Jack Huxtable [Full image 64.1kb]
Derek has hardly missed a Wednesday opening of the Museum for 9 years, and has been a mainstay of our volunteering activities. The picture here is of him a couple of years ago, manning a stall for us in Mitcham. His was a well attended funeral, as you would expect for such a popular man, and, fittingly for us at the Museum, was held at the Lambeth Crematorium in Blackshaw Road, which borders the line of the Surrey Iron Railway.
The following words are the address given by his son, Alan, at the service, in memory of his father, and we thank him for the opportunity to print it here.
"Welcome, it is a pleasure to see so many people here today, which is a testament to the popularity of my father. I want to tell you, briefly, about his life, his activities, and all the things that meant so much to him.
My parents met at a mutual friend's (Pam) 21st birthday party, were married in 1952 and celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary 18 months ago.
He came from a family who were active in social activities, for example his father was in both the local masons and rotary club. In fact the first time my father took my mother out it was to a Masonic ladies night, and as my grand-father was the current chief of his lodge, my mother had to sit on the top table at this function. As she came from a more "sheltered" up-bringing, she found this rather terrifying at the time.
Dad always kept himself busy, and always took an active part in the various organisations he belonged to.
When my parents met he was already in the Tooting Bec camera club which he kept going to even after we moved to Colliers Wood in 1964, until it finally folded in the mid 1970's.
In Colliers Wood he was a founder member of the camera club at the community centre, and later became very involved in the running of the community association, being its chairman for many years until standing down recently, but remaining involved as deputy chairman.
Other activities included making teas at blood donating sessions, helping at the Wandle Industrial Museum, as chairman of the Unison retired group, and a committee member of the Merton Abbey Horticultural Society.
Another great passion of his was gardening and growing plants from seed, many to sell in aid of his various societies. As anyone who has visited his home and garden in the early spring will know, it sometimes seemed like a mini version of the Wisley gardens greenhouse area. He was still potting plants last week right up until the day he was taken to hospital.
He loved many types of music, from big band and jazz to classical and Opera. "Anything with a Tune" was his criterion.
In later life my parents began to travel, undertaking several trips to Egypt, short trips to the near continent, and more recently cruises, which Dad greatly enjoyed, the ones to the Baltic Sea and the "midnight sun" being particularly memorable.
They also liked visiting museums, castles, forts, etc, which has rubbed off on me, as my wife and daughters will tell you. He had an interest in the military, having been in the army itself immediately after the 2nd world war, and when my brother John joined the navy. He did spend a night on a destroyer some years ago with John while it was travelling from Plymouth to Portsmouth.
My father took an active interest in his grand-children and supported them in their various musical and drama activities.
My dad was never one to sit around, he always wanted to be doing something, and seemed to me to always be making something or having a little project on, or organising something.
Thank-you all for coming, it is nice to see so many old faces again, and my mother and family will try and catch up with you later this afternoon."