Derek originally became interested in horticulture at an early age - growing many plants at home. When he was studying for his A levels for a career in teaching he worked at a local hospital in the gardens and continued to work there when he started teacher training. He decided that horticulture may be better than teaching so he took up full time employment in the horticultural department of the hospital. Horticulture became his life from this time on.
Derek was a founder member of the IoH when it was formed in 1984. In the following year he was promoted to divisional officer based in Beverley. Much more of his time was then spent on protected salad crops and in 1988 he was appointed the MAFF national cucumber consultant.
He was approached in 1990 by the then largest grower of cucumbers in the country to work as their technical manager. Since 1991 Derek has worked as an independent crop consultant and was appointed in 1994 by the industry to represent cucumber interests on the HDC protected crop panel - and he is still there in the capacity of scientific adviser to the panel. He helped set up the Cucumber Growers’ Association in 2000 and now works (along with his other work) as its technical officer. He also sits on the Tomato Growers’ Association technical committee.
To aim to maintain his level of expertise in the industry Derek joined the Vegetable Consultants Association which is a small group of crop consultants that work together to stay up to date and was appointed as its chairman from 2002 to 2006.
In 2009 Derek was awarded the Harlow Carr medal by the RHS for services to the salad crops industry.
Most recently Derek was granted the title of Chartered Horticulturist by the Chartered Institute of Horticulture.
Within Growco, Derek plays an invaluable advisory role for its members with his extensive knowledge of crops and the understanding of the RPA requirements.