TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Pickering man who started his working life on the town’s railway.

Derrick Collier died in York Hospital, aged 85, at the end of August, and a thanksgiving service was held at Christ Church, Heworth, York, following a private cremation.

Derrick was born in Pickering, the eldest of five, and after leaving school at 14, he worked as a porter at the town’s railway station before he was called up for National Service.

After demobilisation Derrick returned to work for British Railways as a porter, then took a job driving one of their road vehicles delivering small goods from Malton Railway Station to surrounding areas. This is when he met his wife Anne, who was a shorthand typist at Wards in Sherburn.

They married at St Hilda’s Church in 1961 and lived in the village and had two children, Shirley and Richard. Following the 1960s Beeching cuts, Derrick applied for a job at Wards and worked there from 1967 as a welder and tacker until his retirement in 1998. In 1967 Derrick joined Sherburn fire station and served 15 years as a part-time firefigther reaching the rank of leading fireman before his retirement in 1982.

His family said: “Derrick loved his family and from their birth his children were the apple of his eye and centre of his life, taking them on holiday in the first week in June either camping or caravanning.

“When Derrick retired, Wards presented him and Anne with a brand new bike each and they spent many happy hours cycling around country lanes and sharing picnics and also enjoyed bowling.”

The couple also enjoyed travelling and since 1990 apart from European countries and many Greek Islands they visited California, Israel, and more recently Australia.

In 2014, Derrick and Anne moved to the Stockton Lane area of York from Sherburn so they could be near Shirley. They settled immediately and began to enjoy making new friends and joining in community activities.

His family said: “One of the best blessings came after they joined the congregation at Heworth Christ Church nearby where the lovely people welcomed them and made them feel part of the church family.

“Derrick has enjoyed a long and healthy life but his and Anne’s shared Christian faith has been the mainstay of their life since the mid-1970s.”

Derrick is survived by his widow Anne, children Shirley and Richard, grandsons Joshua and Daniel, son-in-law Robert, brother Keith and sister Jean.