A MAN who spent his working life as a plumber in Huddersfield has died.
Derrick Armer died at Calderdale Royal Hospital on May 10 at the age of 81, after a stroke.
Mr Armer was a Colne Valley man through and through and as Yorkshire as they come. He was born in Slaithwaite, and with his parents Jim and Lizzie and younger sister Joyce lived on the working farms, Pioneer and Bethany Farms in Linthwaite.
Both children went to Linthwaite Church School and Royds Hall Grammar School.
At 14, Mr Armer started his apprenticeship or “fetched up” at T H Shaw & Sons, plumbers and electricians, at Old Bank, later at Market Place, Slaithwaite where he spent his entire working life. He eventually managed the firm along with David Shaw.
His apprenticeship lasted five years, but was night school based and he came out with a City and Guilds qualification. He worked for Frank and Lesley Shaw, with Frank running the business.
He took the compulsory break to do his National Service in the RAF and served his time in Germany as a Morse code operator. Whilst there he was able to go to performances at the Hamburg Opera, having a lifelong love of music.
He was very involved with the Huddersfield Master Plumbers and was secretary from January 1965 until December 1995. He was local president from 1982-1984, then Regional President from 1990-1991 and finally National President of the APHC (Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors) from 1994-5.
The plumbing industry changed greatly during Derrick’s working career, going from lead, to copper, to plastic fittings.
In its heyday, Shaw’s had a relatively large workforce, but in latter years, with the recession, there was just Derrick and David Shaw.
In his younger days, he was a keen hill walker and tramped many miles in the Lakes and Yorkshire Dales with the Huddersfield Rucksack Club and was also an experienced motorcyclist, with friends Jimmy Shaw and George Gratton, riding AJS and Triumph bikes. He switched to riding motor scooters with The Luddites – Huddersfield Scooter Club where he made many lifelong friends – and incidentally met his wife to be, Shirley.
The pair married in 1961 and had two children, Andrew and Diane.
It didn’t matter where Derrick went in the world, he always had his plumber’s hat on. He and Shirley enjoyed some wonderful holidays in retirement and wherever they were, Derrick always lifted up the cistern to check the plumbing – even at Pompeii!
When he was National President, they attended a function in Park Lane, a Heating and Ventilating National do, and as they walked in and 300 people stood and clapped them in, Derrick turned to his wife Shirley and said “I never thought a plumber from Slawit would do something like this!”
Following retirement Derrick and Shirley much enjoyed travelling, latterly on cruises, one in particular which covered Beirut, Aqaba, Egypt, Benghazi and Tunis – named “Trouble Spots of the Middle East”.
He had a lifelong passion for classical music and was a subscriber to Huddersfield Choral Society and also the Huddersfield Music Society.
He was a keen reader, and did the Telegraph crossword each day.
He enjoyed watching sport on TV, and particularly enjoyed motor sports.
A funeral was held at Huddersfield Crematorium.