Derek Stollery: [Heath 1942–1949]

Derek Stollery died on age 71.

He had suffered from a short illness and was then diagnosed with cancer and given a few months to live, but potentially longer with treatment. He declined treatment and died three weeks after diagnosis.

During his illness, he kept his quiet, calm and almost enigmatic public exterior and yet he couldn't help letting the person inside out every now and again. After having flirted with his 30-year-old female Oncologist following his diagnosis, he then went on to charm the Macmillan nurse who came to see him shortly afterwards. When she asked if he wanted to see the dietician, his reply of ...Dunno, is she blonde? had her lost for words for some considerable time.

Crossley Carpets formed the majority of his working life. He had a period of time after the closure of Crossleys when he owned a toyshop in Bradford and then he went on to build his own wooden toys, having been disappointed at the cost of and quality of the items that he had previously had available to sell on to the public. It was more down to the quality of the toys that he made rather than the profit margins which drove him to do this. Despite the many professional successes he had in his life prior to this point it was at this time that it always gave his sons great pleasure when filling out official paperwork to be able to state their father's profession as “Toymaker”!

After he retired he spent his spare time designing and building model aircraft engines, forming each individual part from stock on his lathe in his garage. His last project, a 9-cylinder rotary engine, remains unfinished and will stay as such since he was designing it as he went along and the necessary information on how to complete it went when Derek departed.

Derek Stollery driving a racing car
Derek Stollery

Before his four boys came along (all four of whom are former Heathens), he was in his element as a Sports car driver, building and driving his own cars. In the early fifties, when you have to drive your car to the racing circuit, he took part in races at the likes of Oulton Park and Silverstone. This was a passion he gave up totally for forty years on becoming a family man but resurrected to an extent in his latter years. Following the death of his wife Rena, in 2000 he announced to his four boys that he intended to spend their entire inheritance on a Ferrari 308GTB.

As a result of this purchase he had to demonstrate his ability to target his remaining finances to those things that really mattered. The car was taken out at every opportunity and kept properly maintained by time served Ferrari mechanics but to compensate, if you opened his kitchen cupboard, it was packed with the blue and white striped livery of Tesco own-brand produce.

Having owned the 308 for some time, he talked about wanting to change it to something else. He considered a Caterham7 or a TVR Griffith 500. Instead, he decided to upgrade and he left this world in his seventies as a driver and owner of a Ferrari 328GTS as in the end he said he didn’t want to be known as: “a man who used to own a Ferrari.”

He will be greatly missed by his four sons who will always take comfort in the fact that they were able to spend almost all of Derek’s last week together at his home in Pye Nest.

Dave Stollery [Heath 1974–1981]