Family and Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce lead tributes to ‘generous spirit’ Derek Parry

Tributes have been paid to Derek Parry by his loved ones and Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce colleagues

Tributes have been paid to Derek Parry by his loved ones and Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce colleagues - Credit: Archant

The family of a leading Sidmouth businessman have paid loving tribute to his ‘generous spirit’ and passion for the place he called home for more than 40 years.

Lancashire-born Derek Parry became heavily involved with many of the town’s organisations, including four decades as a member of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, and campaigned to save the town’s hospital.

Derek, 83, a former chamber president and chairman, died on May 7 following a short illness.

The chartered financial planner moved to Sidmouth in 1972, following a career as an RAF pilot as his wife Gill was born in the town.

The couple met while studying at Bristol University and were married for 59 years. Derek dropped out of university to join the air force.

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He served as fighter pilot flying principally Hunters and Lightnings before becoming a test pilot where he was the first to fly the revolutionary new vertical take-off fighter, the Harrier.

His son, Martin, told the Herald this week: “He may not of have been born a Sidmothian, but there is no question that he became one. He also helped the Sidmouth hospital when they needed it and they, in return, helped him when needed it most.”

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Derek’s daughter, Laura, added: “He loved sharing his wine with his family and friends. It was his generosity of spirit and his passion for the town. He was generous with his wine and time.”

In 1973, the father-of-three opened his business, Derek Parry Ltd, which he ran until he retired in 2005. He also won two prestigious awards, including UK Independent Financial Adviser of the Year. Derek was also the Sampson Society’s first chairman, taking up the post in 2009.

A Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce spokesman said: “His wise counsel often came to the fore and he achieved many things, not least ensuring the future of the chamber in 2009 when it was going through difficult times. He introduced business breakfasts in 2000, which proved a good way of members keeping in touch with each other. He was, of course, an excellent chairman and president of the chamber and a widely-respected local businessman. He will be very much missed.”

Derek is survived by his wife Gill, three children Laura, Martin and Anne, and grandchildren Toby, Holly, Milly, Fred and George.

A funeral service and celebration of Derek’s life will be held the East Devon Crematorium on Monday, May 21, at 1.45pm. Family flowers only.

Donations can be made to the RAF Benevolent Fund and Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Comforts Fund through Potbury’s Funeral Service.

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