DateLine: 28th November 2013
Fomer Nelson professional Derek Parker has passed away at the age of 66. Derek, who also represented Lancashire Seconds from 1967-71 and Durham in 1972, was professional at Seedhill in 1980.
His first job as a league professional was at Lancaster in the Northern League from 1969 until 1971. He was at Royton in the Central Lancashire League in 1972 and 1973, Blackpool in 1974 and Ashton between 1975 and 1979.
In 1978 he sub pro-ed for Todmorden where his sons Stuart, who is now Cricket Chairman, and Duncan would later play.
Derek joined the committee at Todmorden and he also worked on maintaining the ground.
In later years Derek wrote five Kindle books, including The Pained Willow, a semi-autobiographical novel relating the exploits of a League Cricket Professional in the North of England.
He was also keen on stats providing comprehensive details on extras for lancashireleague.com for the last three seasons.
Derek’s funeral is on Tuesday 3rd December 1.30 at Todmorden Unitarian Church and Burnley Crematorium at 3pm.
Stan Heaton paid this tribute: "The news of Derek's passing is a great shock. As usual whenever we met, I spent an enjoyable couple of hours in Derek's company at 2013's second XI fixture at Todmorden - a chat in the car and a couple of pints after the game. I found Derek a thoughtful man with thought provoking ideas. Anyone who had played against Derek knew that they were playing a fair but tough and indeed wily opponent. His latter production of statistics was an example of how he was always looking for insightful and less obvious ways of viewing the game.
"Derek was a smashing bloke and true cricket man who cared about the game and how it should be played. This is indeed a sad loss and our deepest sympathy to his family and all at Todmorden CC."
Todmorden captain Andrew Sutcliffe paid this tribute on behalf of himself and the players at the club: "Derek’s sad passing came as a shock to all of us as it was less than three months ago that you would see him tendering to the gardens around the club and he practically watched every ball bowled on Centre Vale throughout the entire summer.
"Derek was a man with a huge passion for cricket and my earliest memory of him was when he spent an hour or so coaching me one on one as a youngster in the nets as I was trying to master the art of spin bowling. As a young cricketer you cannot ask for anymore from a local professional giving up his own time to coach you to try and improve your game. Despite being a youngster at the time I know that this is where my huge respect for Derek started and ever since I have played senior cricket, especially over recent seasons since being made captain, Derek has always been someone that I would talk to about the game and I was always asking for his advice after the games as he was a great thinker and listening to his old stories from his days as a local pro was always a pleasure.
"Over the last few years Derek has watched all of the cricket played on T.C.C and he has always been an encouraging figure around the players. He would always give you a very honest assessment of how you were developing, if he thought you had made a mistake he would tell you, but also, if he thought you had done something worth praising then he would do that also which I know from players point of view is something that we all appreciated from a man who had gone head to head with some of the World’s best in his day.
"Derek was always a man who the lads would want to talk with after a game. I have very fond memories, and so do many others, of sharing a tipple with Derek in the club house throughout the summer months and sharing more than a laugh or two. There are many people out there who have known Derek longer than me, and spent more time with him than me, but from my point of view, and on behalf of the players, he was a man who we had huge respect for and his company was always a pleasure. Derek’s passing is a sad loss to the club and the cricketing community as a whole. Our thoughts go out to his family. R.I.P DV Parker."