Derek Milby, one of life’s characters, passed away from Covid-19 on 9th February 2021 aged eighty.
Derek joined the NMRA in 1973 and Calder Northern in 1983. He was awarded the Golden Spike in 2012 and Freedom of the Region in 2013. He was a keen railway photographer and videographer. His modelling interests were focussed mainly on the AT&SF and he had quite an eclectic collection including brass articulateds, Mallets and turbines from various railroads, most of which he had sold off prior to his passing.
As well as Calder Northern Derek was a member of Barrow-in-Furness Model Railway and Engineering Society. He was also associated with the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway for a number of years and was a regular visitor to various UK steam railways, where on occasions he assisted volunteers.
Derek was very friendly with Bob Phelps of Peco and used to video Bob’s layout and enjoy running sessions at Bob’s home. Derek organised the Windermere 1989 Lakeside Convention. Among its highlights were holding the AGM on a moored Lakeside steamer, and a trip to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway.
He provided a cast aluminium loco headboard commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Region in 1995, which we believe now resides at NMRA HQ, having been presented to Bob Charles, then NMRA National President, at that year’s Poole “Golden Sands” Convention.
It was what Derek did for other people’s enjoyment of the hobby that made him stand out
Derek worked as an engineer for the Lake Windermere steamers until 2005. As they were at one time run by British Railways, Derek received railway travel concessions which he retained on retirement and that made it easier to visit friends all over the country. He was a railway union rep for the area, thus making him well known to local railwaymen and a font of knowledge on what was happening on the railways.
He arranged birthday bash weekends in the summer from the mid-1980s to 2006 for his friends, many of whom were NMRA members. We always went to various places during the day with associated social evenings at a variety of hostelries often involving Jazz or folk nights. One of the most memorable times included hiring a pair of Leyland Lions (built in 1926 and 1929) – the route included Hardknott Pass where the passengers in one bus had to get out and push.
He also organised six consecutive two-day NMRA Meets and exhibitions at the Coronation Hall in Ulverston in the 1990s. British Region presented Derek with a certificate of appreciation for these efforts in 2002.
Unfortunately, in later years he had two strokes, which left him with a disabled arm. He moved into sheltered accommodation where the staff thought the world of him. He still kept active though, going out train watching, friend-assisted, taking videos of local railways and sending them out on DVDs to many friends.
Derek gave and did so much for the Region and we should all be grateful for his contribution. He was lovely man (with an edge of steel) and the sort of guy one was glad to have known.