During the NGS Macmillan unit appeal, I have been privileged to meet some truly incredible people. They are passionate, determined and an absolute inspiration to me, not only in what they do, but how they deal with the challenges that are thrown at them.
That is certainly how I would describe Derek Kipling.
A few weeks ago, I sadly found out that Derek had passed away. Derek, 70, from Brampton, was a passionate supporter of Prostate Cancer UK and member of the Prostate Cancer Support Group in Chesterfield.
I first met him in May 2015, when we launched the appeal to build the Macmillan Unit at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. Derek had kindly put himself forward to share his experiences to help us highlight how the new unit would improve care for patients in Chesterfield and North Derbyshire. He then went on to appear in the video we produced and all our information materials.
Without us knowing Derek then decided this wasn’t enough. He picked up a collection tin and decided to stand outside the main entrance of the hospital to raise money for the appeal. He did this several days a week – no matter the weather. I know many of you reading this may well have seen him doing this, and been kind enough to put money in his tin. But he still wanted to do more. Derek created his own digital art – and several times a month he would run a stall at the hospital selling his framed art, paying for the frames and printing himself – with all proceeds going to the appeal.
Derek was one of the most, kind, generous and unassuming people I have ever met, and he always put others first. I was so thrilled when he won the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ at an awards ceremony ran by the Chesterfield Volunteer Centre in 2015.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Derek’s family and friends at this difficult time. He was such an incredible man who will be missed by many. You may want to know, from that small collection tin he picked up – Derek collected £7,045.