It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of the following Old Derbeians




John Barrie Sheard 21st January 2020 1945-1950

Obituary to follow


David Owen 10th January 2019 1950-1957

David Owen of Spondon who was a frequent attender of the ‘Class of 1950’ reunion group was died recently on 10th January 2019 aged 79 years. His funeral took place at St. Werburgh’s Church in Spondon attended by well over 100 people, followed by a private cremation.

Several glowing and funny tributes were given by his two sons and also the Vicar. Being deeply involved with Spondon Cricket Club of which he was their President for over 40 years he will be sorely missed. Being a good cricketer and footballer himself he inaugurated a youth training scheme within the Club, which he managed for many years, being awarded ‘Cricket Coach of the Year in 1974.

 After attending Derby School from 1950 to 1957 he became very proficient in the French language including studying at the Sorbonne. He retired his teaching career at Littlleover Comprehsive School on Pastures Hill when offered the opportunity and then became a courier and guide for Riviera Travel, making many trips to both France and Belgium. Always a most outward going old boy he will certainly be missed by everyone that had the pleasure of knowing him over the many years.

 To his wife Ann, his son’s Mark, Paul and John and step father to Debbie and and Pippa we offer our sincere condolences. 

 J. Barrie Sheard – OD Society Archivist



Norman  Leonard  Chapple QPM., LLB., MSc., Barrister at Law

(1942 – 1948)

Norman L. Chapple was born in London in February 1932 and moved with his parents to live first in Stanley in Derbyshire before moving to the Drewry Lane area of Derby. As an Eleven Plus Scholarship winner he entered Derby Grammar School in September 1942 at their WWII evacuated school at Amber Valley Camp at Woolley Moor in North Derbyshire, moving back in September 1945 to St. Helen’s House in Derby city centre leaving in July 1948.

He became a Boy Scout and in 1947 was fortunate to attend the World Scout Jamboree in France in the Summer of 1947, he also became a Sea Scout as well. At School he was excellent at sports and was in first teams for both cricket and football and was an excellent athlete in the sports field.  National Service called where he became Sgt in the R.A. S.C. serving mainly in Paris connected with NATO.

He first became a Police Cadet and then a Police Constable within the then Derby City Police Force. His ability saw him seconded to London University where he undertook to become a Bachelor of Law (LL. B) and became a trained Barrister. It was here in London he met his future wife, Pamela who was a nurse at London University College Hospital. On returning to Derby he gained a Fullbright Scholarship, becoming a Detective and attained his M. Crime degree at Stanford University. From here he moved (via a stint as Commandant at the Stanley Grange Police training College) to Liverpool becoming first an Inspector and then a Superintendent, moving further to South Wales as Assistant Chief Constable; finishing his service as Deputy Chief Constable to the Ministry of Defence Police Force.

Interestingly, he was short-listed for the post of Chief Constable for Derbyshire but was pipped at the post by another well-qualified officer.

A member of the Derby South Rotary Club he became a Paul Harris Fellow and held the post as President  – for his term of office. For many years he was a much respected member of the Old Derbeian Committee and in 1966-1968 was their President and for several years was entirely responsible for the Society’s Annual Derby Dinner Secretary In addition, he held membership of Derby Grammar School’s Trust when it was formed in the 1990’s.

During his latter part of his life he and Pamela moved away from Littleover in Derby to be near their family which consisted of two daughters, one of which lives north near Newcastle upon Tyne. To those left behind we extend our sincere condolences.


Peter William Lewis (1940 – 1945)


Sadly Peter passed away on 28 September 2019 at the age of ninety years, he talked often of his time at school and on the occasion of
his 70th birthday his whole family (wife Valerie and Children Tina, Debbie, Chris, Mark and Richard) accompanied him to Derby to visit the
old haunts. Chief amongst these was Amber Valley, we went to the site now occupied by the sailing club and were regaled with stories of
school life – school was a very happy time for him. From school Peter went on to Leys and Ewarts in Derby and trained as a draughtsman
meeting wife Valerie there. He then went on to the RAF – training and qualifying as a pilot – he spent 12 more happy years in the service
leaving as a Flight Lieutenant from 53 Squadron Transport Command based at Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Here he started his own Travel
Business (Oxonian Travel Services) in 1963 which continues to trade as a family business to this day.

Peter William Lewis (seated Front right)


Neville Copestake 26th January 2019 1940-1945

Obituary of Neville Keith Copestake (1940-1945)

Neville Copestake of Folly Road, Darley Abbey started his Derby School education as one of the first second former’s to attend the newly opened Amber Valley Camp at Wooley Moor in north Derbyshire. Remaining there for the whole of WWII. Neville died recently on 26th January 2019 suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Whilst at Derby school he became a member of the school’s Cadet Corps and was always considered a first-class shot having been taught by his father how to shoot from an early age. Leaving School he had to undertake his National Service as a soldier serving with the Pay Corps, attached to the Parachute Regiment.

Following into the family’s motor cycle business known as Palin’s Motors he developed it into a good business, many young men in Derby buying their first motorcycle from the business and he did not retire until 1987. Always a keen gardener and often with a project he was undertaking in his garage. On retiring he was able to take up his hobby of golfing, becoming a member of several clubs like Mickleover, Kedleston and Chevin.

Neville leaves behind his wife Barbara along with his son Ian and daughter Dawn and their respective families to whom we extend our sincere condolences.


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