Sixty members and friends of Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society gathered at Operatic House to celebrate the 90th birthday of Derek Oldfield, one of the society’s most versatile members since he joined nearly 30 years ago.
Financial and business expertise as a former manager at National Westminster Bank soon marked Derek out for the post of treasurer – a position he occupied with distinction for 11 years, following which he was elected president.
Derek has also served as chairman of the management committee and is still responsible for lettings of Operatic House, the society’s social and rehearsal centre.
The glossy award-winning programmes were for 25 years edited by Derek, who tirelessly walked the streets of Ilkley selling advertising space to shops, restaurants or estate agents.
As if this all this were not enough, the former bank manager has always been willing to roll up his sleeves working backstage or being a courteous and reassuring presence front of house.
He has sung in the chorus for many of the society’s productions, starting with Mame in 1988.
He recalls being one of the dancing waiters in Hello Dolly in 1991.
In the 1998 production of Me and My Girl he played the role of Sir Jasper Tring, an upper-crust stone deaf old buffer.
Derek has represented the society on the committee of the Friends of King’s Hall since 2001. He has no plans to stop just yet and is presently planning an organ and dance event to be staged in November in the Winter Garden.
The wine flowed, everyone chatted and reminisced and after a buffet supper prepared by society members, the entertainment started. Jane Steadman, Sally Holmes and Chrissie Platt delighted the gathering with a selection of songs from the shows, including Mamma Mia – one of the birthday boy’s favourite shows.