Former Watford mayor, Derrick John Coleshill, dies aged 93

Watford Observer: Former Watford mayor, Derrick John Coleshill, dies aged 93 Former Watford mayor, Derrick John Coleshill, dies aged 93

A former mayor of Watford and long time councillor, Derrick John Coleshill, has died at the age of 93.

Mr Coleshill represented Leavesden and Central wards in the town for many years and was elected mayor in 1975/76.

He worked in engineering firms in and around Watford where he lived for more than 50 years, retiring from Rolls-Royce’s Leavesden plant in 1983.

He met his wife Doris when both were supporting the war effort in the town working at Novobax munitions factory in 1944.

Despite working full time he helped Doris run a sweet shop, tobacconist and greengrocery delivery business in Euston Avenue while they lived above the shop.

They moved to Northfield Gardens, and then Malden Road in Watford.

Leaving school at 14, it was Derrick’s unbounded analytical curiosity that enabled him to educate himself and take a keen interest in the lives and opinions of everyone he met.

A long time activist and campaigner, Derrick joined the Labour party at the age of 14, and remained interested in politics to the end.

His personal passion for gardening helped shape his efforts as chairmanship of parks and recreation council committees in Watford.

He stepped down from the council in the early 1980s and moved to Highcliffe in Dorset in 1992 An avid bridge player, becoming, with his wife, a county master, he was also a keen chess player, a trade union negotiator and active on community health councils.

He is survived by his Doris and son Paul who described his father as "a hard-working honorable man".

The funeral takes place on Tuesday, June 3, in Highcliffe.

Comments (3)

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12:03am Thu 29 May 14

Andrew1963 says...

I knew Derek in the late 1970s when he was a Cllr for central. A traditional labour man with a keen interest in improving society.
I knew Derek in the late 1970s when he was a Cllr for central. A traditional labour man with a keen interest in improving society. Andrew1963
  • Score: 4

10:12am Fri 30 May 14

Mike Ribble says...

Andrew1963 wrote:
I knew Derek in the late 1970s when he was a Cllr for central. A traditional labour man with a keen interest in improving society.
Let's be honest Andrew.
If Derrick was such a 'traditional labour man' why was his career as a councillor ended by his being de-selected by his party comrades?
[quote][p][bold]Andrew1963[/bold] wrote: I knew Derek in the late 1970s when he was a Cllr for central. A traditional labour man with a keen interest in improving society.[/p][/quote]Let's be honest Andrew. If Derrick was such a 'traditional labour man' why was his career as a councillor ended by his being de-selected by his party comrades? Mike Ribble
  • Score: -2

1:16pm Fri 30 May 14

Andrew1963 says...

Because he was a traditional Labour man. In 1980 Central Labour party decided it wanted to get a younger asian man on to the council. At the time central had three Cllrs, David Hole, Stella Meldrum and Derrick Coleshill. David and Stella were on the left and Derrick was on the trade union right. Derrick was not deselected. he decided not to put himself forward (as he knew he would lose a selection contest among central members) and he decided he did not want to stand elsewhere. Ted Amey was Leader of the council and could have got him a seat elsewhere in the town. But i suspect with retirement looming he did not want to stand for a third seat. I think Leavesden was the pre-1974 seat which became Woodside and he could have gone there or Meriden.
Because he was a traditional Labour man. In 1980 Central Labour party decided it wanted to get a younger asian man on to the council. At the time central had three Cllrs, David Hole, Stella Meldrum and Derrick Coleshill. David and Stella were on the left and Derrick was on the trade union right. Derrick was not deselected. he decided not to put himself forward (as he knew he would lose a selection contest among central members) and he decided he did not want to stand elsewhere. Ted Amey was Leader of the council and could have got him a seat elsewhere in the town. But i suspect with retirement looming he did not want to stand for a third seat. I think Leavesden was the pre-1974 seat which became Woodside and he could have gone there or Meriden. Andrew1963
  • Score: 0

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