The wife of “a wonderful man” who was involved with his village public hall for over 35 years has paid tribute to him.

Derrick Bedford moved to Coates and joined the public hall committee in the 1980s, before later becoming chairman.

“He was not one to sit still and I think everyone knew him in the village for being busy,” his wife Pauline said.

Derrick died last month at the age of 84.

Born in Whittlesey, Derrick started working on the family farm after studying at the former Hereward school in March.

The keen builder had several jobs before setting up his own business.

“When he became self-employed, he built all summer and then worked in a beet factory in the winter so he could bring money into us,” said Pauline.

“His main hobby was woodwork, making things from steam engines to toy caravans.”

While a builder, Derrick made different items for villagers through his woodwork, something he thoroughly enjoyed.

As well as signwriting, he became a committee member at the public hall, was named chairman in 1988 and helped out with village events, from fayres to scouts trips.

“He loved doing things for everybody else,” Pauline said.

“If he couldn’t do work in the public hall himself, he would have to be there to oversee someone else doing it.”

Wisbech Standard: Derrick Bedford joined the committee at Coates public hall in the 1980s before becoming chairman in 1988.Derrick Bedford joined the committee at Coates public hall in the 1980s before becoming chairman in 1988. (Image: Family)

A father-of-three, Derrick, who retired after around 30 years as a builder, was a family man and dedicated time to them, as well as fellow villagers.

“When the children were younger, he was involved with the scouts and loved to do camping,” Pauline recalled.

“He used to help out with the camping and drive the minibus.”

Line and sequence dancing also played a key part in Derrick’s life, having first attended the village club with Pauline around 30 years ago.

He helped raise funds for charities through dancing, too.

Many turned out for Derrick’s funeral on November 18, which Pauline believes highlighted the amount of respect her husband gained from his local community.

“I think once he gained a family, that was everything to him,” she said.

“Every card we got mentioned that he was a lovely, generous man and that speaks for itself.

"He was a wonderful man and a wonderful husband.”

Derrick leaves two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.