Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Uncle Derek

Swansea golfing fanatic's fairway to heaven

Wednesday, January 06, 2010, 16:00

TRIBUTES have been paid to a golfing fanatic who travelled the world but was never happier than when in his beloved Swansea home.

Derek Philip Stevens passed away on Christmas Eve.

The 78-year-old former chairman of Langland Bay Golf Club had suffered a long battle with vascular dementia.

Originally from Folkestone, Kent, Mr Stevens spent his retirement years in Langland after spending part of his childhood in the city.

"To Derek, Wales was his adopted home where he spent many of his happiest years both as a boy and in retirement.

"He used to call himself an adopted Welshman," said his wife Anne.

Derek spent time at Dynevor School in Swansea after being evacuated to South Wales during World War II.

He later joined HM Customs & Excise and was posted to Inverness where he developed his love of single malt whisky and golf.

After a stint with HM Customs in London he was posted to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, in 1963 where he met Anne, and they had three children, Karen, Bruce and Geraldine.

As a training officer for local customs staff in Africa he continued to play golf, was captain of the Dar-es-Salaam rugby XV and president of the Dar-es-Salaam Gymkhana Club.

Mrs Stevens added: "Feedback from those who worked with Derek over the years was that you always knew where you stood with him, he got things done, encouraged staff to always focus on a positive outcome.

"He commanded the total respect and the affection of staff at every level."

Mrs Stevens said her husband was a private person, loyal to his friends and someone who could not abide injustices.

"He even wrote to the sports editor of the Daily Telegraph when his great niece, an accomplished young junior golfer and others like her, received no coverage despite their achievements," she added.

Derek returned to work for HM Customs in Folkestone in 1971.

He joined the Department of Employment in 1978 and 10 years later got his dream posting to Swansea, where he immediately joined Langland Bay Golf Club. He later became a member of the board and club president.

Current chairman Tony Vaughan said: "Golf was his passion, along with his wife Anne. He was an outgoing character and a popular figure here. Everyone knew him as a lovely man, a charming gentleman."

On retirement in 1991 Derek was presented with the Imperial Service Order by the Queen for his work in the civil service.

His ashes will be scattered on the 16th green at Langland on January 16 and his family will hold a celebration of his life at the clubhouse.


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