Derek Neal: 1938-2020
Derek Neal, who had been involved in many aspects of life Carey Memorial Baptist Church since becoming a member in 1955, died in August 2020 at the age of 82
Derek Neal has been involved in the Boys’ Brigade, the Church and youth work since he was a young man. In his time he has been Kettering Youth Mayor, Boys’ Brigade Captain, Youth Club leader and Church Secretary amongst many other jobs and responsibilities, all in a voluntary capacity.
Derek became a member at Carey Memorial Baptist Church in 1955 and since then had been an active member of the church, being elected onto the diaconate and in 1991 becoming church secretary, a post he held until 2018.
Being secretary involved him in all aspects of church life from interviewing prospective ministers to chairing meetings across the church spectrum. Up until 2012 he was responsible for the hire and use of the church and hall for activities on any day of the week
Besides overseeing these ministries he had overseen many projects. I realise we all remember the latest project, which was the biggest change within the church building for over 30 years but if we look back at Carey from the early 90s, Derek oversaw the project to raise a significant amount of money to renovate the brickwork and stonework at the top of the church which involved the scaffolding around the church.
During this time, besides organising many services there were three ordinations, two inductions, one welcome, plus two farewell services. Along with these he also organised a number of special events including the centenary of the church in 1994 and the televised bi-centenary service of the Baptist Missionary Society here at Carey in 1992.
In 1985 Rev Gordon Giller, Peter Strong (Snr) and Derek, with other prominent Baptists in the town, took on the project of renovating the Mission House and building Martha Wallis Court in the garden. Derek was the first Treasurer and when it opened he was busy each Monday morning collecting the rents and banking the cash. In more recent times, since becoming a resident, Derek had been busy on the social side, involved in many social events, producing meals as well as organising fish and chip lunches.
In the Boys’ Brigade Company he was involved in the activities of the Company. This included the weekly activities, annual camps and Battalion activities, all of which helped boys to get a firm grounding in life, many of whom went onto have successful careers and lives.
As part of the staff on the annual camp he gave the boys a weeks holiday under canvas enjoying sports and games as well as visiting local attractions, in the early days this may well have been the only holiday they would have had.
Whilst an Officer of the Boys’ Brigade, Derek was appointed North Northants Battalion President until the Battalion amalgamated with the Nene Valley Battalion and then Northamptonshire Battalion in early 2000s.
He was also part of the management committee for the County Training Centre in Northampton, and was part of the organising committee for the National Meetings when they were held in the town. He has attended many District and National Meetings and events in his official capacity and as just an Officer. He took an active part in the Company and was the Company President.