Fond farewell to Dereck, city’s Lord Of The Dance

His dance classes were a huge hit in Peter­bor­ough, but more than that, Dereck Brown’s great­est legacy may be the many hus­bands and wives who have him to thank for their long and fruit­ful mar­riages. Joel Lamy spoke to some of them when he at­tended Dereck’s

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Behind The Headlines -

Peter­bor­ough’s very own cupid, Dereck Brown, helped ro­mance blos­som through­out the city dur­ing his many decades teach­ing peo­ple how to dance. And at his fu­neral last Thurs­day, trib­utes flooded in for ‘a pil­lar of Peter­bor­ough’ and a ‘true gen­tle­man’.

Dereck was given the hon­our of a ser­vice at Peter­bor­ough Cathe­dral and dozens of peo­ple came to pay their re­spects to the man who ran Brown’s Dan­cen­tre in Lin­coln Road for over 40 years.

Dereck’s wife Edna and daugh­ter Joanne were in­un­dated af­ter the ser­vice with well-wish­ers who wanted to thank the fam­ily for ev­ery­thing Dereck had done for them.

One of them was Veron­ica Wood­cock-El­lard who first took lessons from Dereck in 1955. She said: “I started at just 16. He got me through five ex­ams with highly com­mended.

“As a teacher he was kind and en­cour­aged me.”

Les and Doreen Cul pin met at a dance Dereck or­gan­ised at the Town Hall 50 years ago. They then mar­ried the fol­low­ing year. Doreen said: “We would not have met if it were not for Dereck.”

Paul and Diane H ur re ll met at Brown’s Dan­cen­tre in 1985 at a sin­gles night. They said three or four cou­ples from their group had also got mar­ried.

The ser­vice be­gan at 11.45 am and in­cluded eu­lo­gies from Dereck’s brother-in-law Charles Swift, his son-in-law Mark Wind­sor- Hamp­ton and CEO of the In­ter­na­tional Dance Teach­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion Keith Holmes.

Edna said: “I thought the ser­vice was ab­so­lutely fab­u­lous. To be al­lowed the priv­i­lege of the cathe­dral was fan­tas­tic.

“Dereck was a lov­ing and very car­ing man and he ab­so­lutely loved-danc­ing- it washis life. And he wanted to help ev­ery­body. If he could give them help he did.”

In his eu­logy Charles, a city coun­cil­lor in Peter­bor­ough for 62 years, de­scribed Dereck as “one of the pil­lars of so­ci­ety in this city.”

He said :“De re ck and I were im­mi­grants from York­shire and boy could De re ck tell a story. He was a mar­vel­lous or­a­tor and could speak on any sub­ject on any length.

“Those who knew Dereck I’m sure would agree with me that we have all lost what can only be de­scribed as a per­fect English gen­tle­man.”

Keith said: “Dereck was a re­ally sin­cere man who you never heard say a wrong word about any­one.

“We have lost our dear friend and men­tor. I’m sure all of your lives have been en­riched in some way know­ing Dereck. I know mine has.”

De re ck moved to Peter­bor­ough from York­shire in 1952 where he worked as a dance teacher at the Max Grist Dance Stu­dio be­fore open­ing Brown’s Dan­cen­tre. Classes were so busy it was of­ten not pos­si­ble to get into the stu­dio, and it was not un­com­mon to see queues around the cor­ner.

Dereck’s grand­son Jack said: “He was very jolly and al­ways mak­ing jokes and try­ing to give ad­vice. It’s al­most hum­bling to see how many peo­ple care about him.”

Dereck and Edna Brown

Scenes from the fu­neral at the cathe­dral which­in­cluded an eu­logy from Charles Swift

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