DEREK Green who migrated to Skipton from the deep south but made a lasting impact on his adopted community, has died at 66.

Derek was a churchwarden at Holy Trinity Church, a highly skilled tailor, manager of the Little Red Bus voluntary bus services, a driver of the school bus in the upper Dales and a well-known figure in the local pub.

Always immaculately dressed in a well cut suit, Derek was an instantly recognisable figure in the Royal Shepherd and then the Narrow Boat in Skipton until he moved to Buckden in 2016.

From Watford originally, he worked in a men’s fashion shop and taught himself to do alterations. He became highly skilled and became manager of the Camden High Road branch of trendy fashion shop Lord John in the 1970s. He also ran his own fashion business.

His friend of almost 50 years, Stephen Fletcher recalls that he had a passion for sports cars, fashion, music and was an ardent socialist and atheist.

He was a proud owner of a Toyota Celica which, like his clothes, was tailored to his own particular taste.

“He loved fashion but was never going to stay in it, it was just part of the zeitgeist then and he had broad horizons,” said Mr Fletcher.

Mr Fletcher said he loved all sorts of music, especially blues and classical and his tastes ranged from Bob Dylan to Edgar and Johnny Winter, from Bartok to the Baker Gurvitz Army. In art he was a keen fan of Bridget Riley, hence the request for attendees at his funeral to wear stripes.

In the 1980s he became a student at Hatfield Polytechnic studying a BA in English literature. It was here that he met and later married Rosie, to whom he was devoted.

His strong intellect took him north to Trinity All Saints where he took an MA in Victorian Studies, focusing on the works of Thomas Hardy. He was to acquire an encyclopaedic knowledge of Hardy.

At this point he considered a career in education and took up a post as student teacher at Skipton Girls High teaching English. He decided that teaching was not for him but he enjoyed the circle of friends he was cultivating with Rosie in the town.

In Skipton he quickly assimilated himself into the local community. With his broad taste and immense knowledge of academic subjects he was quite at home discussing topics as diverse as the history of the Victorian Church, the novels of Thomas Hardy or blues music.

With his disdain for television, he would far sooner engage in conversation in the pub and his pair of Afghan hounds and later English setters provided a ready means of locals striking up a conversation – not that Derek was shy in coming forward.

The dogs, his clothes and his unmistakeably southern accent meant he quickly acquired a wide circle of friends in Skipton and he would joke that he was conducting “missionary work in Yorkshire”. However, he hated pub quizzes – a sure fire way to get him to sup up and go home.

Despite his early atheism he became a churchwarden at Holy Trinity Church and was deeply committed to his role. He became steadily more spiritual while always ready to accept criticism of religion.

Even when his cancer began to take hold, he steadfastly continued his duties, made even more arduous as the church was without a rector until the arrival of Canon Theodosius in October last year.

He worked as transport manager for the much lamented Little Red Bus service run by Craven Voluntary Action, organising rotas, ensuring the safety of the vehicles and doing some of the driving himself.

In 2016 he moved to Buckden and continued to drive a minibus ferrying children to Kettlewell School from the outlying villages of Upper Wharfedale.

In Buckden he again quickly became involved in the community and became secretary of the village institute. His trips to Skipton became rare as he fell ill but he was always welcomed back to his former circle.

There were 180 people on Derek’s Christmas card list, an indication of how popular he was and how he cut across a wide circle of friends. Sadly only 30 could attend his funeral but once the Covid restrictions are but a memory, then a get-together is planned to pay due tribute to a man who left his mark in the Craven community.

He was buried in Hubberholme churchyard on February 5.