Derek Haigh

I was born in High Flatts, where my parents were in business, and I was their only child.

As my father played the euphonium in Denby United Silver Prize Band, and my mother played the violin, it was not surprising that I took up the piano at an early age.

I was keen on all sports, playing football, cricket and also tennis (as we had a grass court at our home).

My secondary education was shared. I attended Brookfield Co-ed Quaker school at Wigton in Cumberland, where my music rapidly developed, but after my mother became ill, I completed my education at Penistone Grammar School.

Later I studied Electrical Engineering in Huddersfield, graduating with a diploma in Electrical Engineering, subsequently becoming a member (and lately a Fellow) of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and a Chartered Electrical Engineer.

During my school days the Vicar at Upper Denby Church invited me to learn to play the church organ, and I continued to play, whenever available, at Services and Weddings for over forty years. I am happily married to Jocelyne, but it was with sadness that we lost our twin boys, born prematurely, at only 3 days old. Jocelyne has been a great encouragement in my musical life, and was very pleased when Dr. Martin Dey suggested that I join NMMVC seven years ago. I enjoy classical, big band, choral and country and western music. The first classical piece I heard was Mendelssohn’s 4th Symphony, and this has remained a favourite of mine – although Mozart, Beethoven and Rossini are also very high on my list.

I have been very fortunate in having a successful business life, first with a large electrical contracting company in Huddersfield, and then moving on to the joint positions of Director of Pennine Engineering Ltd and Managing Director of Derek B. Haigh Ltd – which employed nearly 400 staff in Brighouse.

My Co-Directors and I were later persuaded to sell out to a Public Conglomerate based in Derby, and I continued employment with them. Four years later the Conglomerate sold our companies to a newly privatised Utility Company in Nottingham, who retained our services for another three years. Later they decided to close down these Companies and several other Companies which they owned. I was approached to join a Northern Ireland Group, and became Managing Director of their Leeds subsidiary. I continued there until my retirement five years ago.

I was also employed, on an Electrical Consultancy basis, by local Architectural practices, and a multinational agriculture Conglomerate, where I worked on local and international projects for the World Bank, Crown Agents and the ODA amongst others. All this slotted in nicely with my contracting activities, with no conflict of interest. My sporting activities are now limited mainly to golf, through my memberships at Woodsome Hall and Scarborough South Cliff Golf Clubs, and with Jocelyne being a talented golfer, our holidays are mainly spent chasing around the fairways and greens of the world!! If I was cast away on a desert island, my luxury would be to have a piano, but a stock of good wine would also be very acceptable! To pass the time, I would like to have the complete 29 world bestsellers by Alistair MacLean.

Although we spend a considerable time away from Huddersfield, I really enjoy life with the choir, and the happy times we have at rehearsals and concerts. I hope that I shall continue life with NMMVC for many years to come.