Minute's silence for Derek

PUBLISHED: 08:56 26 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 06 May 2010

Photo supplied by David Tavener.

Photo supplied by David Tavener.

There was a minute s silence before St Albans City s match with Newport County last Saturday as a mark of respect for Club Historian Derek Christmas who passed away last week. A lifelong City fan and Honorary Life Member of the Football Club, Derek had a

There was a minute's silence before St Albans City's match with Newport County last Saturday as a mark of respect for Club Historian Derek Christmas who passed away last week.

A lifelong City fan and Honorary Life Member of the Football Club, Derek had a collection of match programmes and press cuttings dating back to the 1930s. Even when he was stationed in the Far East during World War II he would get someone to send him the press cuttings.

His statistics were comprehensive and all neatly written by hand and his knowledge of players from the 1930s right up to the present day, including when they joined the club, their profession outside of football and whether they were good or not!

It wasn't just football that Derek was passionate about but all sport and he was thrilled about the Olympics returning to London in 2012 however if there was a sport that he thought was better than football then it was cricket. He kept the records for Old Albanians Cricket Club, even after moving from St Albans to Bourne in Lincolnshire.

Even while in hospital Derek still talked about football and he was delighted with City's 4-0 win over Fisher Athletic on Saturday. His son Martin was present at Saturday's match.

SIR - I have just heard the sad news that Derek Christmas died earlier this week. He will be much missed by so many people in St. Albans especially those associated with St. Albans City FC and Old Albanian CC.

I first met Derek as a 15-year old cricketer making my debut for the OAs where he was umpire and statistician for many years before moving to Bourne.

Nothing would stop him from umpiring a first team game and absolutely nothing would stop him from being totally impartial. I admired him enormously for this. He taught so many of us the true spirit of the game and I felt the club changed for the worse when he left.

I have many happy memories of him. He was not fulsome with his praise but always congratulated you when you had performed and for that reason it meant so much. He gave me so many tips about all aspects of the game and taught me so much about captaincy during my three year stint in the mid 80s.

Whenever I ventured to Clarence Park to watch the football club he was always on the gate collecting the money and would tell me 'this is proper football, not like the rubbish you watch in Division 1. They are over paid prima donnas'. Imagine what he would think now!

You knew exactly where you stood with Derek. He was an honest, decent and generous man. I hope both his great loves in St. Albans will think of appropriate ways of remembering him.

Mark Frost, Hawsley Road, Harpenden.

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