Derek was born in Brighton and, as a youth, went for lessons to the same sax teacher as Barbara Thompson and indeed knew Barbara through this. As a young sax player he performed in various palais bands of the day - In particular The ‘Denis Langford Band’. Whilst playing with these various orchestras, he came to blow alongside such notable musicians as drummer/keyboard player Garry Husband and the great tenor sax player, Red Price. Derek eventually went on to work and tour extensively with Adam Faith’s band .
Derek met his wife Wendy and made his way to Redcar and eventually in Yarm.